Background

Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) includes 3 or more of the following 5 criteria: low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration, elevated waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting blood triglycerides and glucose.It may begin to develop during young adulthood, and its risk factors during that time of life are not fully understood.While sugar-sweetened beverages have been implicated in its development, total dietary sugars and sugar types have not been investigated.

Methods

A cross-sectional study of 336 healthy college students (age 18-24y; 83% female; BMI=24.4±3.7 kg/m2; BF%=25.5±9.2) was used to examine dietary sugars and MetS risk factors.Dietary data were collected using the validated 297-item Comprehensive Nutrition Assessment Questionnaire.Fasting blood lipids and glucose were measured via Cholestech, blood pressure by auscultation, and waist circumference was measured in duplicate at the level of the umbilicus.ANOVA was used to compare intake of total sugars, fructose-containing sugars, and non-fructose containing sugars in students who had no MetS risk factors (NoMS; n=189; 56.3%) to those who had ≥1 (YesMS; 147; 43.7%).

Results

Frequencies of MetS risk factors were: low HDL-C=63 (18.8%), high waist circumference=29 (8.6%), high blood pressure=62 (18.5%), high triglycerides=43 (12.8%) and high glucose=0 (0%).Intake of total sugars was lower in NoMS than YesMS (22.1% vs. 23.7%; F(1,334)=4.251, p=0.040).Similarly, intake of fructose-containing sugars was lower in NoMS than YesMS (13.5% vs. 14.7%; F(1,334)=4.748, p=0.030).No significant difference was seen in non-fructose sugar intakes (8.5% vs. 9.0%).

Conclusions

Higher intakes of total sugars and fructose-containing sugars were associated with presence of ≥1 MetS risk factors.These results may have implications for college students’ risk of developing MetS.Longitudinal research is needed to develop guidelines for consumption of total and specific types of sugars.