Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is an accumulation of health factors that increase an individual’s chance of chronic diseases and disabling conditions, such as type II diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Multiple studies have shown a positive association between sugar consumption and aggravation of parameters related to MetS.
We analyzed the effects of meeting the acceptable macronutrient range (AMDR) for sugar consumption on MetS parameters among college students. We hypothesized that meeting this recommendation would be associated with positive outcomes for MetS parameters.
Plasma lipids, glucose, and waist circumference (WC) were measured in 167 Weber State Students (ages 18-65). A two-day diet record was collected and analyzed using diet and wellness plus. Participants were separated into two groups, based on whether or not they met the AMDR of consuming less than 25% of total calories from sugar. Mean comparisons between low sugar (LS) and high sugar (HS) consumers were performed using independent samples t-test.
63% of participants met the sugar AMDR recommendation. LS group participants presented lower WC (75.8 ± 10.5 vs. 75.5 ± 11.5 cm, p = 0.03) and plasma triglycerides (TG) (76.0 ± 47.6 vs. 121.6 ± 99.9 mg/dL, p = 0.001) compared to their HS counterparts. In addition, we observed a positive trend in the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (52.7 ± 16.9 vs 47.59 ± 17.14, p = 0.06) levels of the HS group, compared to the LS group.
We observed that the percentage of total calories consumed from sugar is an important modulator of circulating triglycerides and central adiposity. This is in accordance with previous studies, which show that excess fructose consumption exerts adipogenic effects, and can trigger de novo lipogenesis in the liver, resulting in increased triglyceride production and secretion.