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The rise in metabolic syndrome (MetS) is accompanied by a decrease in milk and dairy consumption and an increase in sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption, with SSB possibly displacing dairy products in the diet. Our main objective was to determine whether young individuals not meeting the dairy recommendations of 3 servings per day were at greater risk for MetS. In a cross-sectional design, a food frequency questionnaire was answered by Mexican college applicants (n = 339). Medical examination at a primary health care center and evaluation for presence of MetS risk factors was completed as part of an ongoing collaborative project. Relative risk analyses were used to assess the impact of meeting or not the dairy recommendations for the presence of MetS. The MetS prevalence was 10. Three-fourths (76%) of participants were not meeting the daily recommendations. Individuals who failed to meet dairy recommendations were at 2.9 times greater risk for MetS when controlling for age, sex, family history of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and physical activity. We did not found that SSB were displacing dairy products in the diet. Still, our data support the importance of meeting daily dairy recommendations for the prevention of MetS in young adults.