High Added Sugar Intake Linked to Elevated Cardiometabolic Risk, Finds Study

by Ella

Consumption of foods and beverages rich in added sugars, including syrups and caloric sweeteners, has been linked to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, according to recent findings published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

The study, conducted by Rae K. Goins, MPH, BS, a nutrition educator at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and her colleagues, aimed to explore the associations between added sugar and added sugar-rich carbohydrate food and beverage intakes with the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that include elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels, all of which increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.


Research Methodology and Key Findings:

To investigate this association, researchers utilized data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, focusing on 3,154 Black and white adults aged 18 to 30 years at baseline. Dietary and health information was collected over 20 years at three separate time points.


Key findings of the study include:

Added Sugar and Metabolic Syndrome:


Individuals in the highest quintile of daily added sugar intake had approximately a 51% greater risk for metabolic syndrome compared to the lowest quintile.


The highest quintile of daily sugar-sweetened beverage intake was associated with a 38% greater risk for metabolic syndrome compared to the lowest quintile.

Combining added sugar from both food and beverages resulted in more than a 50% increased risk for metabolic syndrome.

Daily Intake Quintiles:

The lowest quintile of added sugar intake was approximately 30.5 g per day, while the highest quintile reached 167.6 g per day.

For sugar-sweetened beverages, the lowest quintile was approximately 0.07 servings per day, contrasting with the highest quintile at 3.49 servings per day.

Impact on Diet Quality:

Individuals with the highest added sugar intake demonstrated lower intake of whole grain products, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, poultry, fish, and seafood.

Conversely, they exhibited higher intake of red/processed meat and dairy products.

Combined Analysis:

Analyzing added sugar from both food and beverages, even at lower consumption levels, showed an increased risk for metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome Components:

Low HDL, elevated blood pressure, elevated glucose or diabetes prevalence, and elevated triglycerides were associated with increased daily consumption of added sugar-rich food and beverage intake.
The findings emphasize the potential health risks associated with excessive added sugar consumption, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages and certain food products. The study suggests that adopting healthier diet patterns, such as the Mediterranean or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets, may be protective against metabolic syndrome.

As public health concerns surrounding metabolic syndrome continue to grow, understanding the role of added sugars in its development becomes crucial for informing dietary recommendations and interventions.



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