1/30/15 • General

Statement by the Corn Refiners Association on the recent Human Reproduction Study Finding Apparent Association Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Earlier Onset of Menstrual Periods

WASHINGTON, DC – “The issue of early-onset puberty is a complex one and current research suggests that diet and other lifestyle factors may play a factor in early menarche. However, studies like this one that attempt to isolate one type of food or ingredient without considering larger factors such as obesity do little to find an answer to this problem.

While this study attempts to draw a correlation between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and early menarche, it falls far short of showing any real causation.

In addition, the study did not fully factor in Body Mass Index (BMI) of the girls that were surveyed.  This is a significant confounding problem in this study as childhood obesity is widely seen as a possibly important factor in early menarche.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded: ‘Girls who experienced early menarche are significantly more often overweight/obese. Overweight/obesity may be considered as one of the predictors for the early occurrence of menarche.

Importantly, the authors of the study in Human Reproduction acknowledge that ‘BMI is a strong predictor of menarche, and the observed association of more frequent SSB consumption and earlier menarche may be partially explained by increases in BMI.’ The authors also noted that earlier studies had found other nutrients ‘including animal and vegetable protein’ that are associated with early menarche. In fact, the authors acknowledge there are a number of unmeasured dietary factors that may also contribute to the early onset of puberty in girls, and indeed that ‘[m]ost foods and food groups remain unexplored’ on this question.”

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is the national trade association representing the corn refining industry of the United States. CRA and its predecessors have served this important segment of American agribusiness since 1913. Corn refiners manufacture sweeteners, ethanol, starch, bioproducts, corn oil and feed products from corn components such as starch, oil, protein and fiber.