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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Nov;82(5):1004-10.

The relation of sugar intake to beta cell function in overweight Latino children.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



Few studies have investigated the association between sugar intake and insulin dynamics in children, and none have examined this association in overweight Latino youth.


We aimed to examine the relation between dietary components, especially sugar intake, and insulin dynamics in overweight Latino youth.


We examined 63 overweight Latino children aged 9-13 y. Dietary intake was determined by 3-d records, and body composition was measured with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Insulin sensitivity (S(I)), acute insulin response (AIR), and disposition index (an index of beta cell function) were measured by using a frequently sampled intravenous-glucose-tolerance test and minimal modeling. Hierarchical regression analysis ascertained the potential independent relation between insulin dynamics and dietary components.


The relation between macronutrient intake and any variable related to insulin dynamics was not significant. However, higher total sugar intake, although not related to S(I), was significantly associated with lower AIR (beta = -0.296, P = 0.045) and lower beta cell function (beta = -0.421, P = 0.043), independent of the covariates age, sex, body composition, Tanner stage, and energy intake. Sugar-sweetened beverage intakes trended toward inverse association with lower AIR (beta = -0.219, P = 0.072) and beta cell function (beta = -0.298, P = 0.077).


In overweight Latino children, higher intakes of sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages were associated with lower AIR and disposition index, which suggested that these children already have early signs of poor beta cell function. These results emphasize the need for early nutritional interventions to reduce daily sugar intake in overweight Latino children and potentially reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.

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