1Nutrition and Endocrine Research Center AND Obesity Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2Associate Professor, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3Endocrinologist, Obesity Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4Professor, Endocrine Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Background & Aims: Unhealthy snacks contain high amounts of calories, simple sugars, fat, cholesterol, salt, additives, and conservatives. Increased consumption of these unhealthy snacks is one of the underlying factors for the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and metabolic disorders. In this study, we investigated the effects of unhealthy snacks on diet and the risk of metabolic syndrome after 3-years of follow-up in Tehranian adults. Methods: This longitudinal study was conducted within the framework of the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study, between 2006-2008 and 2009-2011, on men and women in Tehran, Iran. Dietary intakes of participants were measured using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire at baseline. Biochemical and anthropometric measurements were assessed at baseline and 3 years later. Multiple logistic regression models with adjustment for confounding factors were used to estimate the occurrence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in each quartile of unhealthy snacks. Results: The mean age of participants was 37.8 ± 12.3 years, and the mean of body mass index was 26.0 ± 4.5 kg/m2 . Moreover, 39% of the participants were male. Daily energy intake, dietary energy density, and total fat and sodium intake were higher in the fourth quartile of unhealthy snacks consumption. There was a significant decreasing trend in dietary intake of carbohydrate, calcium, zinc, selenium, and fiber parallel to increase in consumption of energy-dense snacks. Participants who were in the highest quartile of energy intake from unhealthy snacks consumed less whole grains, vegetables, and dairy products. After adjustment for potential confounders, the risk of metabolic syndrome had a significant positive association with salty snacks consumption, and a non-significant positive association with consumption of candies, chocolate, and soft drinks. Conclusion:Increased daily energy intake from unhealthy snacks could be a risk factor for the occurrence of metabolic syndrome.