Isotopic estimates of sugar intake are related to chronic disease risk factors but not obesity in an Alaska native (Yup'ik) study population

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jan;68(1):91-6. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.230. Epub 2013 Nov 13.


Background/objectives: Sugar intake may be causally associated with chronic disease risk, either directly or by contributing to obesity. However, evidence from observational studies is mixed, in part due to the error and bias inherent in self-reported measures of sugar intake. Objective biomarkers may clarify the relationship between sugar intake and chronic disease risk. We have recently validated a biomarker of sugar intake in an Alaska Native (Yup'ik) study population that incorporates red blood cell carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in a predictive model. This study tested associations of isotopic estimates of sugar intake with body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and a broad array of other physiological and biochemical measures of chronic disease risk in Yup'ik people.

Subjects/methods: In a cross-sectional sample of 1076 Yup'ik people, multiple linear regression was used to examine associations of sugar intake with BMI, WC and other chronic disease risk factors.

Results: Isotopic estimates of sugar intake were not associated with BMI (P=0.50) or WC (P=0.85). They were positively associated with blood pressure, triglycerides (TG) and leptin, and are inversely associated with total-, high-density lipoprotein- and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and adiponectin.

Conclusions: Isotopic estimates of sugar intake were not associated with obesity, but were adversely associated with other chronic disease risk factors in this Yup'ik study population. This first use of stable isotope markers of sugar intake may influence recommendations for sugar intake by Yup'ik people; however, longitudinal studies are required to understand associations with chronic disease incidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alaska / epidemiology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carbon Isotopes / blood*
  • Chronic Disease / ethnology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American
  • Leptin / blood
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrogen Isotopes / blood*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides
  • Waist Circumference
  • Young Adult


  • Adiponectin
  • Biomarkers
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Leptin
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Triglycerides