Lower carbohydrate and higher fat intakes are associated with higher hemoglobin A1c: findings from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008-2016

Churuangsuk, C. , Lean, M. E.J. and Combet, E. (2020) Lower carbohydrate and higher fat intakes are associated with higher hemoglobin A1c: findings from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008-2016. European Journal of Nutrition, 59, pp. 2771-2782. (doi: 10.1007/s00394-019-02122-1) (PMID:31686204) (PMCID:PMC7413867)

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Purpose: Evidence of low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets (LCHF) for type 2 diabetes (T2DM) prevention is scarce. We investigated how carbohydrate intake relates to HbA1c and T2DM prevalence in a nationally representative survey dataset. Methods: We analyzed dietary information (4-day food diaries) from 3234 individuals aged ≥ 16 years, in eight waves of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2008–2016). We calculated LCHF scores (0–20, higher score indicating lower %food energy from carbohydrate, with reciprocal higher contribution from fat) and UK Dietary Reference Value (DRV) scores (0–16, based on UK dietary recommendations). Associations between macronutrients and diet scores and diabetes prevalence were analyzed (in the whole sample) using multivariate logistic regression. Among those without diabetes, analyses between exposures and %HbA1c (continuous) were analyzed using multivariate linear regression. All analyses were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, ethnicity, smoking status, total energy intake, socioeconomic status and survey years. Results: In the overall study sample, 194 (6.0%) had diabetes. Mean intake was 48.0%E for carbohydrates, and 34.9%E for total fat. Every 5%E decrease in carbohydrate, and every 5%E increase in fat, was associated with 12% (95% CI 0.78–0.99; P = 0.03) and 17% (95% CI 1.02–1.33; P = 0.02) higher odds of diabetes, respectively. Each two-point increase in LCHF score is related to 8% (95% CI 1.02–1.14; P = 0.006) higher odds of diabetes, while there was no evidence for association between DRV score and diabetes. Among the participants without diagnosed diabetes (n = 3130), every 5%E decrease in carbohydrate was associated with higher %HbA1c by + 0.016% (95% CI 0.004–0.029; P = 0.012), whereas every 5%E increase in fat was associated with higher %HbA1c by + 0.029% (95% CI 0.015–0.043; P < 0.001). Each two-point increase in LCHF score is related to higher %HbA1c by + 0.010% (0.1 mmol/mol), while each two-point increase in the DRV score is related to lower %HbA1c by − 0.023% (0.23 mmol/mol). Conclusions: Lower carbohydrate and higher fat intakes were associated with higher HbA1c and greater odds of having diabetes. These data do not support low(er) carbohydrate diets for diabetes prevention.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:CC has received PhD scholarship from the Prince of Songkla University, Faculty of Medicine, Thailand.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lean, Professor Michael and Combet Aspray, Professor Emilie and Churuangsuk, Chaitong
Authors: Churuangsuk, C., Lean, M. E.J., and Combet, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:European Journal of Nutrition
ISSN (Online):1436-6215
Published Online:04 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in European Journal of Nutrition 59:2771–2782
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Data DOI:10.5255/UKDA-SN-6533-12

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