This study aims to (1) assess the associations between sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) consumption and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, and (2) evaluate the modifying effect of body mass index (BMI) on the association between SSB consumption and CRP levels.
A total of 6856 eligible adults were selected from the 2007–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Average quantity of SSB consumption was calculated from 2-day 24-h dietary recalls. All data analyses were performed with appropriate sampling weights.
Compared with non-SSB drinkers, a 0.26 mg/l higher CRP was observed in heavy SSB drinkers after adjusting for demographic characteristics, lifestyle patterns, and BMI. An effect modification of BMI on SSB intake and CRP levels was detected (P < 0.05). Medium and heavy SSB consumers with obesity had 0.58 and 0.50 higher CRP than non-SSB consumers, respectively (P = 0.014 and 0.013). No association was found in SSB drinkers who were normal weight or overweight.
These findings emphasize that SSB intake is positively associated with CRP levels. Obesity might strengthen CRP levels in individuals with medium/heavy amount of SSB consumption.