The study published in the journal Nutrition tested the impact of energy-dense, nutrient-poor snacks on the incidence of metabolic syndrome (MetS).
The risk of MetS for the participants who had the highest consumption of salty snacks increased by over 50%. Energy-dense snacks may pose a significant risk even in the relatively short period of three years, the researchers said.
The study suggested the consumption of biscuits and cakes, chocolate and candies and soft drinks also increased the risk of MetS, but far less significantly than the salty category.
Young and inactive
As a common multi-factorial disorder, MetS involves abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension, which could eventually lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is predominantly caused by sedentary lifestyles as well as a higher consumption of processed foods and sweetened beverages, the researchers said.
The study was conducted off the back of research that suggested the prevalence of MetS had increased in developing countries over the last two years along with increased consumption of energy-dense and nutrient-poor food.
In the first phase over 15,000 people were selected of which 2799 adults (1129 men and 1438 women) aged 19 to 70 were examined in the final study. The study found that the age of consumers with the highest energy-dense snack consumption was below average (33.8 years compared to 43.1 of the sample average).
This study was conducted within the framework of the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study (TLGS) in a 3-year period.
Source: Nutrition Volume 30, Issue 5 May 2014, Pages 538–543
Effects of energy-dense nutrient-poor snacks on the incidence of metabolic syndrome: A prospective approach in Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study
Authors: P. Mirmiran, Z. Bahadoran, H. Delshad, F. Azizi