Associations of dietary sugars with metabolic and inflammatory markers may vary according to the source of the sugars. The aim of this study was to examine the association of dietary sugars from different sources [beverages (liquids), foods (solids), extrinsic (free) or intrinsic (non-free)] with metabolic and inflammatory markers.
Population-based cross-sectional study of adults in the East of England (n = 9678). Sugar intakes were estimated using food frequency questionnaires. Fasting glycated haemoglobin, glucose, insulin, and C-Reactive Protein (CRP) were measured and indices of metabolic risk were derived (homeostatic model of insulin resistance, HOMA-IR and metabolic risk z-score).
In multiple linear regression analyses adjusted for potential confounders including BMI and TEI, sugars from liquids were positively associated with ln-CRP [b-coefficient (95%CI), 0.14 (0.05,0.22) per 10%TEI] and metabolic risk z-score [0.13 (0.07,0.18)]. Free sugars were positively associated with ln-HOMA-IR [0.05 (0.03,0.08)] and metabolic risk z-score [0.09 (0.06,0.12)]. Sugars from solids were not associated with any outcome. Among major dietary contributors to intakes (g/d), sugars in fruit, vegetables, dairy products/egg dishes, cakes/biscuits/confectionary and squash/juice drinks were not associated, but sugar added to tea, coffee, cereal was significantly positively associated with all outcomes. Sugars in 100% juice [0.16 (0.06,0.25) per 10%TEI] and other non-alcoholic beverages [0.13 (0.03,0.23)] were positively associated with metabolic risk z-score.
Higher intakes of sugars from non-alcoholic beverages and sugar added to tea, coffee, cereal were associated with glycaemia and inflammatory markers. Sugars from solids were not associated, irrespective of whether they were intrinsic or extrinsic. Positive associations of free sugars were largely explained by contribution of beverages to intake.