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Open Access Research

Carbohydrate intake and cardiometabolic risk factors in high BMI African American children

Sushma Sharma12*, Lindsay S Roberts12, Robert H Lustig13 and Sharon E Fleming12

Author Affiliations

1 The Dr Robert C and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3104, USA

2 Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3104, USA

3 Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:10  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-10

Published: 9 February 2010

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between intakes of subgroups of energy-providing carbohydrate, and markers of cardiometabolic risk factors in high BMI African American (AA) children.

A cross sectional analysis was performed on data from a sample of 9-11 year old children (n = 95) with BMI greater than the 85th percentile. Fasting hematological and biochemical values for selected markers of cardiometabolic risk factors were related to intakes of carbohydrates and sugars.

After adjusting for gender, pubertal stage and waist circumference, multivariate regression analysis showed that higher intakes of carbohydrate (with fat and protein held constant) were associated with higher plasma concentrations of triglycerides (TG), VLDL-C, IDL-C, and worse insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, HOMA-IR). After dividing carbohydrate into non-sugar versus sugar fractions, sugars were significantly related to higher TG, VLDL-C, IDL-C, lower adipocyte fatty acid insulin sensitivity (ISI-FFA), and was closely associated with increased HOMA-IR. Similar trends were observed for sugars classified as added sugars, and for sugars included in beverages. Further dividing sugar according to the food group from which it was consumed showed that consuming more sugar from the candy/soda food group was highly significantly associated with increased TG, VLDL-C, IDL-C and closely associated with increased HOMA-IR. Sugars consumed in all fruit-containing foods were significantly associated with lower ISI-FFA. Sugars consumed as fruit beverages was significantly associated with VLDL-C, IDL-C and ISI-FFA whereas sugars consumed as fresh, dried and preserved fruits did not show significant associations with these markers.

Sugars consumed from in all dairy foods were significantly associated with higher TG, VLDL-C and IDL-C, and with significantly lower HDL-C and ISI-FFA. These effects were associated with sugars consumed in sweetened dairy products, but not with sugars consumed in unsweetened dairy products. This analysis suggests that increases in carbohydrate energy, especially in the form of sugar, may be detrimental to cardiometabolic health in high BMI children.