Health Effects of Substituting Sugary Beverages With Artificially-sweetened Beverages or Water (SUB-POP)

  • End date
    Jan 1, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Brigham and Women's Hospital
Updated on 4 October 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) contribute an alarming ~7% of calories in the US diet among adults, making SSBs the single largest source of added sugar. However, whether artificially sweetened beverages are a healthful alternative for reducing SSB intake among habitual SSB consumers is unknown. Therefore, the investigators will conduct a 4-arm randomized diet intervention trial to test the effects of substituting SSBs with calorie-free alternatives on body weight and health, among habitual SSB consumers with overweight/obesity.


The SUBstituting with Preferred OPtions (SUB-POP) trial, is a parallel-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effects of substituting SSBs with non-caloric options on body weight and markers of type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic health. Eligible adult participants will be randomized to 1 of 4 beverage groups and receive at-home monthly deliveries of beverages for 6 months. In-person clinic visits will be conducted at baseline, 6, and 12 months. After the 6 months of assigned beverage substitution and delivery, all participants will be instructed to substitute SSBs with water only for a final 6-month observational period. In-person clinic visits will collect technician-measured anthropometrics, blood pressure, biospecimen samples (blood, urine, stool [subset]), and assess physical activity, diet, beverage frequency, and taste preference. The SUB-POP app-based assessments and online diet recall will ascertain daily beverage intake, while diet (via 3 24-hour recalls), physical activity, and overall beverage frequency will be collected every 1-3 months. A subset will receive at-home digital scales to transmit daily body weight for energy balance and caloric compensation modeling. SUB-POP is a novel RCT that will enroll adult regular SSB consumers with overweight or obesity to evaluate the effectiveness of substituting SSBs with non-caloric options in a real-world, un-blinded setting. The trial will leverage social media recruitment methods, achieve ≥30% non-White participants, implement innovative intervention delivery, adherence, and data collection tools, and partition the artificially-sweetened beverage (ASB) substitution intervention to the two most common artificial sweetener types (aspartame, sucralose) to explore potential heterogeneity. Whether ASBs, which are largely free of calories and sugar, provide a healthful interim strategy to transition to water among habitual SSB consumers is unknown. Thus, by addressing this large gap in the understanding of how to address a highly prevalent and concerning dietary exposure, the investigators will inform dietary guidelines and clinical recommendations for the prevention of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiometabolic disease risks. The primary outcomes are change in body weight from baseline to 6 months between the 3 beverage substitution groups (aspartame ASBs, sucralose ASBs, and water) vs. the maintain SSBs control group, adjusting for multiple comparisons. The investigators and staff will be blinded to group assignment at outcome assessments. Intention-to-treat analysis will be used.

Condition Body Weight
Treatment Maintain SSBs (Control), Substitute Aspartame ASBs, Substitute Sucralose ASBs, Substitute Water
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04567108
SponsorBrigham and Women's Hospital
Last Modified on4 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Adults aged 20-69 years
Consume ≥1 serving/day (12 oz.) of SSBs (SSBs include soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened waters, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, or fruit juices. SSBs do not include 100% fruit juice, sweetened teas, or flavored milk.)
BMI 25.0 to 45.0 kg/m2
Access to a smartphone and willingness and ability to download study app
Willing to consume beverages consistent with any of the 4 possible group assignments for 6 months

Exclusion Criteria

Physician diagnosis of T2D or fasting glucose ≥126 mg/dL at in-person screening visit
Intention to move away from greater Boston area within 1 year from randomization
Major medical illness (known cardiovascular disease, cancer, kidney disease, cirrhosis, etc.)
Phenylketonuria (PKU)
Medication that may affect weight or other study endpoints
Another family or household member participating in the study
Pregnant in the past 12 months, currently breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant during the study period
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer  to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact


Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note