Daily sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and insulin resistance in European adolescents: the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) Study

Public Health Nutr. 2013 Mar;16(3):479-86. doi: 10.1017/S1368980012002613. Epub 2012 Sep 25.


Objective: The present study aimed to evaluate the relationship between the consumption of selected food groups and insulin resistance, with an emphasis on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB).

Design: The present research is a large multicentre European study in adolescents, the HELENA-CSS (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Cross-Sectional Study).

Setting: Homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) was calculated. Several anthropometric and lifestyle characteristics were recorded. Dietary assessment was conducted by using a short FFQ.

Subjects: The participants were a subset of the original sample (n 546) with complete data on glucose, insulin and FFQ. All participants were recruited at schools.

Results: Median (25th, 75th percentile) HOMA-IR was 0.62 (0.44, 0.87). Mean HOMA-IR was significantly higher among adolescents consuming brown bread ≤1 time/week than among those consuming 2-6 times/week (P = 0·011). Mean values of HOMA-IR were also higher in adolescents consuming SSB >5 times/week compared with those consuming less frequently, although a statistically significant difference was detected between those consuming SSB 5-6 times/week and 2-4 times/week (P = 0.049). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that only the frequency of SSB consumption was significantly associated with HOMA-IR after controlling for potential confounders. In particular, it was found that HOMA-IR levels were higher among adolescents consuming SSB 5-6 times/week and ≥1 time/d compared with those consuming ≤1 time/week by 0.281 and 0.191 units, respectively (P = 0.009 and 0.046, respectively).

Conclusions: The present study revealed that daily consumption of SSB was related with increased HOMA-IR in adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Beverages
  • Bread
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects*
  • Europe
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Life Style*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Dietary Sucrose