This was highlighted in a study by researchers from the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Navarre, which has been awarded by the Spanish Society for Epidemiology.
The research, within the remit of the SUN (University of Navarre Monitoring) project and entitled, “Change in the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and rate of metabolic syndrome in a cohort of Spanish university graduates”, received the SEE-CIBERESP prize, awarded to the best work by young researchers presented at the XXX Congress of this Society.
8,157 metabolic syndrome-free persons participated in the research study and were monitored over at least six years. According to Doctor Maira Bes-Rastrollo, lead author of the project, “the participants who increased consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks presented greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome after six or eight years of monitoring, compared with those who had reduced consumption. Moreover, they presented greater risk of high blood pressure, central obesity, hypertriglyceridemia and hyperglycemia”.
First study of a population with a Mediterranean diet pattern
The research sample was drawn up in the context of a population with a Mediterranean diet pattern where the consumption of this type of drink is less. “To date” stated Dr Bes-Rastrollo, there are only three studies that have previously evaluated this hypothesis, but none of them have done so within this context, neither have they evaluated the changes in consumption during long-term monitoring of participants”.
The data on the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was obtained by means of a questionnaire on the frequency of food consumption and previously validated in Spain. Metabolic syndrome, according to Ms Bes-Rastrollo, is defined based on five possible criteria: circumference of waistline, glucose in the blood, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
The SUN project is financed by the research fund (FIS) of the Carlos III Health Institute and the Department of Health of the Government of Navarre and has the voluntary and anonymous participation of more than 21,500 university graduates.
Besides Doctor Bes-Rastrollo, the following researchers participated in the congress: Miguel Ruíz-Canela, Cristina López del Burgo, Silvia Carlos, Estefanía Toledo, Jorge Núñez, Juanjo Beunza and Miguel Angel Martínez-González.
Medikuntza, Osasuna, Unibertsitateak