Total added sugar consumption is not significantly associated with risk for prediabetes among U.S. adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013-2018

PLoS One. 2023 Jun 20;18(6):e0286759. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0286759. eCollection 2023.


Prediabetes affects 38% of U.S. adults and is primarily linked to added sugars consumed from sugar-sweetened beverages. It is unclear if total dietary intake of added sugar also increases the risk for prediabetes. This study examined if total (g/day) and percent intakes of <10%, 10-15%, or >15% added sugar increase the odds for prediabetes in U.S. adults. A cross-sectional, secondary analysis using 2013-2018 NHANES data was conducted. This study included data from U.S. adults ≥ 20 years with normoglycemia (N = 2,154) and prediabetes (N = 3,152) with 1-2 days of dietary recall information. Prediabetes was defined as a hemoglobin A1c of 5.7%-6.4% or a fasting plasma glucose of 100-125 mg/dL. Survey-weighted logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios of prediabetes based on usual intakes of added sugar (total and percent intakes) using the National Cancer Institute Method. Differences in prediabetes risk and total and percent intakes of added sugar were compared by race/ethnicity. The sample's total energy intake from added sugar was 13.9%. Total (unadjusted: OR: 1.01, 95% CI: .99-1.00, p = .26; adjusted: OR: 1.00, 95% CI: .99-1.00, p = .91) and percent intakes of added sugar (unadjusted [<10%: (ref); 10-15%: OR: .93, 95% CI: .77-1.12, p = .44; >15%: OR: 1.03, 95% CI: .82-1.28, p = .82] and adjusted [<10%: (ref); 10-15%: OR: .82, 95% CI: .65-1.04, p = .09; >15%: OR: .96, 95% CI: .74-1.24, p = .73]) were not significantly associated with an increased odds of prediabetes. Prediabetes risk did not differ by race/ethnicity for total (unadjusted model [p = .65]; adjusted model [p = .51]) or percent (unadjusted model [p = .21]; adjusted model [p = .11]) added sugar intakes. In adults ≥20 years with normoglycemia and prediabetes, total added sugar consumption did not significantly increase one's risk for prediabetes and risk estimates did not differ by race/ethnicity. Experimental studies should expand upon this work to confirm these findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prediabetic State* / epidemiology
  • Prediabetic State* / etiology


  • Dietary Sucrose