Publications by authors named "Nita G Forouhi"

237 Publications

Sugar-sweetened Beverage Consumption May Modify Associations between Genetic Variants in the CHREBP Locus and HDL-C and TG Concentrations.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2021 Jul 16. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.

- Carbohydrate responsive element binding protein (ChREBP) is a transcription factor that responds to sugar consumption. Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and genetic variants in the locus have separately been linked to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglyceride (TG) concentrations. We hypothesized SSB consumption would modify the association between genetic variants in the locus and dyslipidemia. - Data from 11 cohorts from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium (N=63,599) and the UK Biobank (UKB) (N=59,220) were used to quantify associations of SSB consumption, genetic variants, and their interaction on HDL-C and TG concentrations using linear regression models. A total of 1,606 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within or near were considered. SSB consumption was estimated from validated questionnaires and participants were grouped by their estimated intake. - In a meta-analysis, rs71556729 was significantly associated with higher HDL-C concentrations only among the highest SSB consumers [β (95% CI) = 2.12 (1.16, 3.07) mg/dl; <0.0002], but not significantly among the lowest SSB consumers (=0.81; <0.0001). Similar results were observed for two additional variants (rs35709627 and rs71556736). For TG, rs55673514 was positively associated with TG concentrations only among the highest SSB consumers [β (95% CI): 0.06 (0.02, 0.09) per allele count for log(mg/dl), =0.001], but not the lowest SSB consumers (=0.84; =0.0005). - Our results identified genetic variants in the locus that may protect against SSB-associated reductions in HDL-C and other variants that may exacerbate SSB-associated increases in TG concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.120.003288DOI Listing
July 2021

Nutritional basis of type 2 diabetes remission.

BMJ 2021 07 7;374:n1449. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1449DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8261662PMC
July 2021

Longitudinal associations between prepubertal childhood total energy and macronutrient intakes and subsequent puberty timing in UK boys and girls.

Eur J Nutr 2021 Jul 7. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Biomedical Campus Box 285, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.

Purpose: Early puberty is associated with adverse health outcomes. To identify potential modifiable factors for puberty timing, we examined the associations of prepubertal childhood macronutrient intakes with puberty timing in boys and girls.

Methods: In the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, macronutrient intakes at age 6 years were predicted using random intercepts linear regression models of dietary data at 3, 4, 7 (assessed by food frequency questionnaires) and 7.5 years (by 3-day food diaries). Timings of puberty onset (Tanner stage 2 genital or breast (B2) development) and puberty completion (voice breaking (VB) or menarche) were calculated from annual parental and child reports at 8-17 years. Age at peak height velocity (PHV) was derived from repeated height measurements at 5-20 years. Linear regression models were fit to estimate the associations of total energy (TEI) and macronutrient intakes (carbohydrate, fat, protein) with puberty timing traits, adjusting for maternal and infant characteristics.

Results: Among 3811 boys, higher TEI, but no macronutrient, was associated with earlier VB. Among 3919 girls, higher TEI was associated with earlier ages at B2, PHV, and menarche. Higher protein intake but not carbohydrate or fat intake (in energy partition models) and substitution of dietary protein for carbohydrate (in nutrient density and residual models) was associated with earlier B2, PHV, and menarche in girls. Findings were not attenuated on additional adjustment for body fat percentage during adolescence.

Conclusions: These findings suggest habitual total energy intakes in children, and protein intakes in girls, as potential modifiable determinants of puberty timing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00394-021-02629-6DOI Listing
July 2021

Prepubertal Dietary and Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids Related to Puberty Timing: Longitudinal Cohort and Mendelian Randomization Analyses.

Nutrients 2021 May 30;13(6). Epub 2021 May 30.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus Box 285, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK.

Dietary intakes of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids (FAs) have been inconsistently associated with puberty timing. We examined longitudinal associations of prepubertal dietary and plasma phospholipid FAs with several puberty timing traits in boys and girls. In the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, prepubertal fat intakes at 3-7.5 years and plasma phospholipid FAs at 7.5 years were measured. Timings of Tanner stage 2 genital or breast development and voice breaking or menarche from repeated reports at 8-17 years, and age at peak height velocity (PHV) from repeated height measurements at 5-20 years were estimated. In linear regression models with adjustment for maternal and infant characteristics, dietary substitution of polyunsaturated FAs for saturated FAs, and higher concentrations of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (20:3n6) and palmitoleic acid (16:1n7) were associated with earlier timing of puberty traits in girls ( = 3872) but not boys ( = 3654). In Mendelian Randomization models, higher genetically predicted circulating dihomo-γ-linolenic acid was associated with earlier menarche in girls. Based on repeated dietary intake data, objectively measured FAs and genetic causal inference, these findings suggest that dietary and endogenous metabolic pathways that increase plasma dihomo-γ-linolenic acid, an intermediate metabolite of n-6 polyunsaturated FAs, may promote earlier puberty timing in girls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13061868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8228200PMC
May 2021

Heterogeneity of Associations between Total and Types of Fish Intake and the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes: Federated Meta-Analysis of 28 Prospective Studies Including 956,122 Participants.

Nutrients 2021 Apr 7;13(4). Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Postgraduate Program in Epidemiology Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre 90040-060, Brazil.

The association between fish consumption and new-onset type 2 diabetes is inconsistent and differs according to geographical location. We examined the association between the total and types of fish consumption and type 2 diabetes using individual participant data from 28 prospective cohort studies from the Americas (6), Europe (15), the Western Pacific (6), and the Eastern Mediterranean (1) comprising 956,122 participants and 48,084 cases of incident type 2 diabetes. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for associations of total fish, shellfish, fatty, lean, fried, freshwater, and saltwater fish intake and type 2 diabetes were derived for each study, adjusting for a consistent set of confounders and combined across studies using random-effects meta-analysis. We stratified all analyses by sex due to observed interaction ( = 0.002) on the association between fish and type 2 diabetes. In women, for each 100 g/week higher intake the IRRs (95% CIs) of type 2 diabetes were 1.02 (1.01-1.03, = 61%) for total fish, 1.04 (1.01-1.07, = 46%) for fatty fish, and 1.02 (1.00-1.04, = 33%) for lean fish. In men, all associations were null. In women, we observed variation by geographical location: IRRs for total fish were 1.03 (1.02-1.04, = 0%) in the Americas and null in other regions. In conclusion, we found evidence of a neutral association between total fish intake and type 2 diabetes in men, but there was a modest positive association among women with heterogeneity across studies, which was partly explained by geographical location and types of fish intake. Future research should investigate the role of cooking methods, accompanying foods and environmental pollutants, but meanwhile, existing dietary regional, national, or international guidelines should continue to guide fish consumption within overall healthy dietary patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13041223DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8068031PMC
April 2021

More Evidence for 5-a-Day for Fruit and Vegetables and a Greater Need for Translating Dietary Research Evidence to Practice.

Circulation 2021 Apr 26;143(17):1655-1658. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, United Kingdom (N.G.F.).

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.053293DOI Listing
April 2021

Blood n-3 fatty acid levels and total and cause-specific mortality from 17 prospective studies.

Nat Commun 2021 04 22;12(1):2329. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK.

The health effects of omega-3 fatty acids have been controversial. Here we report the results of a de novo pooled analysis conducted with data from 17 prospective cohort studies examining the associations between blood omega-3 fatty acid levels and risk for all-cause mortality. Over a median of 16 years of follow-up, 15,720 deaths occurred among 42,466 individuals. We found that, after multivariable adjustment for relevant risk factors, risk for death from all causes was significantly lower (by 15-18%, at least p < 0.003) in the highest vs the lowest quintile for circulating long chain (20-22 carbon) omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic, and docosahexaenoic acids). Similar relationships were seen for death from cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes. No associations were seen with the 18-carbon omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid. These findings suggest that higher circulating levels of marine n-3 PUFA are associated with a lower risk of premature death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22370-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8062567PMC
April 2021

Associations of Total Legume, Pulse, and Soy Consumption with Incident Type 2 Diabetes: Federated Meta-Analysis of 27 Studies from Diverse World Regions.

J Nutr 2021 May;151(5):1231-1240

School of Public Health, Physiotherapy & Sports Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

Background: The consumption of legumes is promoted as part of a healthy diet in many countries but associations of total and types of legume consumption with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are not well established. Analyses across diverse populations are lacking despite the availability of unpublished legume consumption data in prospective cohort studies.

Objective: To examine the prospective associations of total and types of legume intake with the risk of incident T2D.

Methods: Meta-analyses of associations between total legume, pulse, and soy consumption and T2D were conducted using a federated approach without physical data-pooling. Prospective cohorts were included if legume exposure and T2D outcome data were available and the cohort investigators agreed to participate. We estimated incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and CIs of associations using individual participant data including ≤42,473 incident cases among 807,785 adults without diabetes in 27 cohorts across the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, and Western Pacific. Random-effects meta-analysis was used to combine effect estimates and estimate heterogeneity.

Results: Median total legume intake ranged from 0-140 g/d across cohorts. We observed a weak positive association between total legume consumption and T2D (IRR = 1.02, 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.04) per 20 g/d higher intake, with moderately high heterogeneity (I2 = 74%). Analysis by region showed no evidence of associations in the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific. The positive association in Europe (IRR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.10, I2 = 82%) was mainly driven by studies from Germany, UK, and Sweden. No evidence of associations was observed for the consumption of pulses or soy.

Conclusions: These findings suggest no evidence of an association of legume intakes with T2D in several world regions. The positive association observed in some European studies warrants further investigation relating to overall dietary contexts in which legumes are consumed, including accompanying foods which may be positively associated with T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa447DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8112771PMC
May 2021

Vitamin D and covid-19.

BMJ 2021 03 4;372:n544. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine, Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n544DOI Listing
March 2021

n-3 Fatty Acid Biomarkers and Incident Type 2 Diabetes: An Individual Participant-Level Pooling Project of 20 Prospective Cohort Studies.

Diabetes Care 2021 May 3;44(5):1133-1142. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.

Objective: Prospective associations between n-3 fatty acid biomarkers and type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk are not consistent in individual studies. We aimed to summarize the prospective associations of biomarkers of α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with T2D risk through an individual participant-level pooled analysis.

Research Design And Methods: For our analysis we incorporated data from a global consortium of 20 prospective studies from 14 countries. We included 65,147 participants who had blood measurements of ALA, EPA, DPA, or DHA and were free of diabetes at baseline. De novo harmonized analyses were performed in each cohort following a prespecified protocol, and cohort-specific associations were pooled using inverse variance-weighted meta-analysis.

Results: A total of 16,693 incident T2D cases were identified during follow-up (median follow-up ranging from 2.5 to 21.2 years). In pooled multivariable analysis, per interquintile range (difference between the 90th and 10th percentiles for each fatty acid), EPA, DPA, DHA, and their sum were associated with lower T2D incidence, with hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs of 0.92 (0.87, 0.96), 0.79 (0.73, 0.85), 0.82 (0.76, 0.89), and 0.81 (0.75, 0.88), respectively (all < 0.001). ALA was not associated with T2D (HR 0.97 [95% CI 0.92, 1.02]) per interquintile range. Associations were robust across prespecified subgroups as well as in sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: Higher circulating biomarkers of seafood-derived n-3 fatty acids, including EPA, DPA, DHA, and their sum, were associated with lower risk of T2D in a global consortium of prospective studies. The biomarker of plant-derived ALA was not significantly associated with T2D risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc20-2426DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8132316PMC
May 2021

Independent and combined associations between fast-food outlet exposure and genetic risk for obesity: a population-based, cross-sectional study in the UK.

BMC Med 2021 Feb 15;19(1):49. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Box 285 Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.

Background: Characteristics of the built environment, such as neighbourhood fast-food outlet exposure, are increasingly recognised as risk factors for unhealthy diet and obesity. Obesity also has a genetic component, with common genetic variants explaining a substantial proportion of population-level obesity susceptibility. However, it is not known whether and to what extent associations between fast-food outlet exposure and body weight are modified by genetic predisposition to obesity.

Methods: We used data from the Fenland Study, a population-based sample of 12,435 UK adults (mean age 48.6 years). We derived a genetic risk score associated with BMI (BMI-GRS) from 96 BMI-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms. Neighbourhood fast-food exposure was defined as quartiles of counts of outlets around the home address. We used multivariable regression models to estimate the associations of each exposure, independently and in combination, with measured BMI, overweight and obesity, and investigated interactions.

Results: We found independent associations between BMI-GRS and risk of overweight (RR = 1.34, 95% CI 1.23-1.47) and obesity (RR = 1.73, 95% CI 1.55-1.93), and between fast-food outlet exposure and risk of obesity (highest vs lowest quartile RR = 1.58, 95% CI 1.21-2.05). There was no evidence of an interaction of fast-food outlet exposure and genetic risk on BMI (P = 0.09), risk of overweight (P = 0.51), or risk of obesity (P = 0.27). The combination of higher BMI-GRS and highest fast-food outlet exposure was associated with 2.70 (95% CI 1.99-3.66) times greater risk of obesity.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrated independent associations of both genetic obesity risk and neighbourhood fast-food outlet exposure with adiposity. These important drivers of the obesity epidemic have to date been studied in isolation. Neighbourhood fast-food outlet exposure remains a potential target of policy intervention to prevent obesity and promote the public's health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-01902-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7885578PMC
February 2021

A cross-platform approach identifies genetic regulators of human metabolism and health.

Nat Genet 2021 01 7;53(1):54-64. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Metabolic Research Laboratories, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

In cross-platform analyses of 174 metabolites, we identify 499 associations (P < 4.9 × 10) characterized by pleiotropy, allelic heterogeneity, large and nonlinear effects and enrichment for nonsynonymous variation. We identify a signal at GLP2R (p.Asp470Asn) shared among higher citrulline levels, body mass index, fasting glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide and type 2 diabetes, with β-arrestin signaling as the underlying mechanism. Genetically higher serine levels are shown to reduce the likelihood (by 95%) and predict development of macular telangiectasia type 2, a rare degenerative retinal disease. Integration of genomic and small molecule data across platforms enables the discovery of regulators of human metabolism and translation into clinical insights.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00751-5DOI Listing
January 2021

Sex-dimorphic genetic effects and novel loci for fasting glucose and insulin variability.

Nat Commun 2021 01 5;12(1):24. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Department of Biostatistics and Data Science, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Differences between sexes contribute to variation in the levels of fasting glucose and insulin. Epidemiological studies established a higher prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in men and impaired glucose tolerance in women, however, the genetic component underlying this phenomenon is not established. We assess sex-dimorphic (73,089/50,404 women and 67,506/47,806 men) and sex-combined (151,188/105,056 individuals) fasting glucose/fasting insulin genetic effects via genome-wide association study meta-analyses in individuals of European descent without diabetes. Here we report sex dimorphism in allelic effects on fasting insulin at IRS1 and ZNF12 loci, the latter showing higher RNA expression in whole blood in women compared to men. We also observe sex-homogeneous effects on fasting glucose at seven novel loci. Fasting insulin in women shows stronger genetic correlations than in men with waist-to-hip ratio and anorexia nervosa. Furthermore, waist-to-hip ratio is causally related to insulin resistance in women, but not in men. These results position dissection of metabolic and glycemic health sex dimorphism as a steppingstone for understanding differences in genetic effects between women and men in related phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19366-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785747PMC
January 2021

Prospective association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and hepatic steatosis: the Swiss CoLaus cohort study.

BMJ Open 2020 12 22;10(12):e040959. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK

Objective: The Mediterranean diet has been promoted as a healthy dietary pattern, but whether the Mediterranean diet may help to prevent hepatic steatosis is not clear. This study aimed to evaluate the prospective association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and risk of hepatic steatosis.

Design: Population-based prospective cohort study.

Setting: The Swiss CoLaus Study.

Participants: We evaluated 2288 adults (65.4% women, aged 55.8±10.0 years) without hepatic steatosis at first follow-up in 2009-2012. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was scaled as the Mediterranean diet score (MDS) based on the Mediterranean diet pyramid ascertained with responses to Food Frequency Questionnaires.

Outcome Measures: New onset of hepatic steatosis was ascertained by two indices separately: the Fatty Liver Index (FLI, ≥60 points) and the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) score (≥-0.640 points). Prospective associations between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and risk of hepatic steatosis were quantified using Poisson regression.

Results: During a mean 5.3 years of follow-up, hepatic steatosis was ascertained in 153 (6.7%) participants by FLI criteria and in 208 (9.1%) by NAFLD score. After multivariable adjustment, higher adherence to MDS was associated with lower risk of hepatic steatosis based on FLI: risk ratio 0.84 (95% CI 0.73 to 0.96) per 1 SD of MDS; 0.85 (0.73 to 0.99) adjusted for BMI; and 0.85 (0.71 to 1.02) adjusted for both BMI and waist circumference. When using NAFLD score, no significant association was found between MDS and risk of hepatic steatosis (0.95 (0.83 to 1.09)).

Conclusion: A potential role of the Mediterranean diet in the prevention of hepatic steatosis is suggested by the inverse association observed between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and incidence of hepatic steatosis based on the FLI. The inconsistency of this association when hepatic steatosis was assessed by NAFLD score points to the need for accurate population-level assessment of fatty liver and its physiological markers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-040959DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7757450PMC
December 2020

Plasma Sulfur Amino Acids and Risk of Cerebrovascular Diseases: A Nested Case-Control Study in the EPIC-Norfolk Cohort.

Stroke 2021 01 22;52(1):172-180. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, United Kingdom (N.J.W., N.G.F., F.I.).

Background And Purpose: B-vitamin supplements lower circulating concentrations of homocysteine and may reduce stroke incidence. Homocysteine concentrations are associated with the incidence of stroke but other sulfur-containing compounds in the related metabolic pathway have not yet been investigated for an association with incident cerebrovascular diseases.

Methods: Nested within the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition)-Norfolk cohort, we established a case-control study with 480 incident cases of cerebrovascular diseases and 480 controls matched by age, sex, and year of baseline examination (1993-1997). Using baseline plasma samples, we assayed sulfur-containing compounds including methionine, homocysteine, cystathionine, cysteine, glutathione, and taurine with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. We examined the association of concentrations of each of the compounds and the ratio of methionine to homocysteine (representing activity of one-carbon metabolism) with risk of incident cerebrovascular diseases, adjusted for potential confounders.

Results: Plasma methionine and the methionine/homocysteine ratio were inversely associated with risk of cerebrovascular diseases, with odds ratios per 1 SD of 0.83 (95% CI, 0.72-0.96) and 0.82 (95% CI, 0.71-0.95), respectively. The association of methionine remained significant after adjustment for homocysteine. None of the other examined compounds was significantly associated with incident cerebrovascular diseases.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that greater availability of methionine, an essential amino acid, may play a role in the prevention of cerebrovascular diseases and explain the previously recognized link between elevated homocysteine and stroke. Further research is needed to determine causation and the potential of circulating methionine as a target in cerebrovascular disease prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029177DOI Listing
January 2021

Interaction Between GAD65 Antibodies and Dietary Fish Intake or Plasma Phospholipid n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Incident Adult-Onset Diabetes: The EPIC-InterAct Study.

Diabetes Care 2021 Feb 10;44(2):416-424. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, U.K.

Objective: Islet autoimmunity is associated with diabetes incidence. We investigated whether there was an interaction between dietary fish intake or plasma phospholipid n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) concentration with the 65-kDa isoform of GAD (GAD65) antibody positivity on the risk of developing adult-onset diabetes.

Research Design And Methods: We used prospective data on 11,247 incident cases of adult-onset diabetes and 14,288 noncases from the EPIC-InterAct case-cohort study conducted in eight European countries. Baseline plasma samples were analyzed for GAD65 antibodies and phospholipid n-3 PUFAs. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for incident diabetes in relation to GAD65 antibody status and tertiles of plasma phospholipid n-3 PUFA or fish intake were estimated using Prentice-weighted Cox regression. Additive (proportion attributable to interaction [AP]) and multiplicative interactions between GAD65 antibody positivity (≥65 units/mL) and low fish/n-3 PUFA were assessed.

Results: The hazard of diabetes in antibody-positive individuals with low intake of total and fatty fish, respectively, was significantly elevated (HR 2.52 [95% CI 1.76-3.63] and 2.48 [1.79-3.45]) compared with people who were GAD65 antibody negative and had high fish intake, with evidence of additive (AP 0.44 [95% CI 0.16-0.72] and 0.48 [0.24-0.72]) and multiplicative ( = 0.0465 and 0.0103) interactions. Individuals with high GAD65 antibody levels (≥167.5 units/mL) and low total plasma phospholipid n-3 PUFAs had a more than fourfold higher hazard of diabetes (HR 4.26 [2.70-6.72]) and an AP of 0.46 (0.12-0.80) compared with antibody-negative individuals with high n-3 PUFAs.

Conclusions: High fish intake or relative plasma phospholipid n-3 PUFA concentrations may partially counteract the increased diabetes risk conferred by GAD65 antibody positivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc20-1463DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7818317PMC
February 2021

Plant foods, dietary fibre and risk of ischaemic heart disease in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.

Int J Epidemiol 2021 03;50(1):212-222

Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Section of Sustainable Health/Nutritional Research, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Background: Epidemiological evidence indicates that diets rich in plant foods are associated with a lower risk of ischaemic heart disease (IHD), but there is sparse information on fruit and vegetable subtypes and sources of dietary fibre. This study examined the associations of major plant foods, their subtypes and dietary fibre with risk of IHD in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

Methods: We conducted a prospective analysis of 490 311 men and women without a history of myocardial infarction or stroke at recruitment (12.6 years of follow-up, n cases = 8504), in 10 European countries. Dietary intake was assessed using validated questionnaires, calibrated with 24-h recalls. Multivariable Cox regressions were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) of IHD.

Results: There was a lower risk of IHD with a higher intake of fruit and vegetables combined [HR per 200 g/day higher intake 0.94, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.90-0.99, P-trend = 0.009], and with total fruits (per 100 g/day 0.97, 0.95-1.00, P-trend = 0.021). There was no evidence for a reduced risk for fruit subtypes, except for bananas. Risk was lower with higher intakes of nuts and seeds (per 10 g/day 0.90, 0.82-0.98, P-trend = 0.020), total fibre (per 10 g/day 0.91, 0.85-0.98, P-trend = 0.015), fruit and vegetable fibre (per 4 g/day 0.95, 0.91-0.99, P-trend = 0.022) and fruit fibre (per 2 g/day 0.97, 0.95-1.00, P-trend = 0.045). No associations were observed between vegetables, vegetables subtypes, legumes, cereals and IHD risk.

Conclusions: In this large prospective study, we found some small inverse associations between plant foods and IHD risk, with fruit and vegetables combined being the most strongly inversely associated with risk. Whether these small associations are causal remains unclear.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa155DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7938513PMC
March 2021

Plasma Vitamin C and Type 2 Diabetes: Genome-Wide Association Study and Mendelian Randomization Analysis in European Populations.

Diabetes Care 2021 Jan 17;44(1):98-106. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, Cancer Epidemiology Research Program and Translational Research Laboratory; Catalan Institute of Oncology - ICO, Group of Research on Nutrition and Cancer, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), L'Hospitalet of Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: Higher plasma vitamin C levels are associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk, but whether this association is causal is uncertain. To investigate this, we studied the association of genetically predicted plasma vitamin C with type 2 diabetes.

Research Design And Methods: We conducted genome-wide association studies of plasma vitamin C among 52,018 individuals of European ancestry to discover novel genetic variants. We performed Mendelian randomization analyses to estimate the association of genetically predicted differences in plasma vitamin C with type 2 diabetes in up to 80,983 case participants and 842,909 noncase participants. We compared this estimate with the observational association between plasma vitamin C and incident type 2 diabetes, including 8,133 case participants and 11,073 noncase participants.

Results: We identified 11 genomic regions associated with plasma vitamin C ( < 5 × 10), with the strongest signal at , and 10 novel genetic loci including , , , , , , , , , and . Plasma vitamin C was inversely associated with type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio per SD 0.88; 95% CI 0.82, 0.94), but there was no association between genetically predicted plasma vitamin C (excluding variant due to its apparent pleiotropic effect) and type 2 diabetes (1.03; 95% CI 0.96, 1.10).

Conclusions: These findings indicate discordance between biochemically measured and genetically predicted plasma vitamin C levels in the association with type 2 diabetes among European populations. The null Mendelian randomization findings provide no strong evidence to suggest the use of vitamin C supplementation for type 2 diabetes prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc20-1328DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7783939PMC
January 2021

Genome-wide association analysis of type 2 diabetes in the EPIC-InterAct study.

Sci Data 2020 11 13;7(1):393. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a global public health challenge. Whilst the advent of genome-wide association studies has identified >400 genetic variants associated with T2D, our understanding of its biological mechanisms and translational insights is still limited. The EPIC-InterAct project, centred in 8 countries in the European Prospective Investigations into Cancer and Nutrition study, is one of the largest prospective studies of T2D. Established as a nested case-cohort study to investigate the interplay between genetic and lifestyle behavioural factors on the risk of T2D, a total of 12,403 individuals were identified as incident T2D cases, and a representative sub-cohort of 16,154 individuals was selected from a larger cohort of 340,234 participants with a follow-up time of 3.99 million person-years. We describe the results from a genome-wide association analysis between more than 8.9 million SNPs and T2D risk among 22,326 individuals (9,978 cases and 12,348 non-cases) from the EPIC-InterAct study. The summary statistics to be shared provide a valuable resource to facilitate further investigations into the genetics of T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-00716-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666191PMC
November 2020

Food Sources and Dietary Quality in Small Island Developing States: Development of Methods and Policy Relevant Novel Survey Data from the Pacific and Caribbean.

Nutrients 2020 Oct 30;12(11). Epub 2020 Oct 30.

European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, Truro TR1 3HD, UK.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have high and increasing rates of diet-related diseases. This situation is associated with a loss of food sovereignty and an increasing reliance on nutritionally poor food imports. A policy goal, therefore, is to improve local diets through improved local production of nutritious foods. Our aim in this study was to develop methods and collect preliminary data on the relationships between where people source their food, their socio-demographic characteristics and dietary quality in Fiji and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in order to inform further work towards this policy goal. We developed a toolkit of methods to collect individual-level data, including measures of dietary intake, food sources, socio-demographic and health indicators. Individuals aged ≥15 years were eligible to participate. From purposively sampled urban and rural areas, we recruited 186 individuals from 95 households in Fiji, and 147 individuals from 86 households in SVG. Descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression were used to investigate associations. The mean dietary diversity score, out of 10, was 3.7 (SD1.4) in Fiji and 3.8 (SD1.5) in SVG. In both settings, purchasing was the most common way of sourcing food. However, 68% (Fiji) and 45% (SVG) of participants regularly (>weekly) consumed their own produce, and 5% (Fiji) and 33% (SVG) regularly consumed borrowed/exchanged/bartered food. In regression models, independent positive associations with dietary diversity (DD) were: borrowing/exchanging/bartering food (β = 0.73 (0.21, 1.25)); age (0.01 (0.00, 0.03)); and greater than primary education (0.44 (0.06, 0.82)). DD was negatively associated with small shop purchasing (-0.52 (95% CIs -0.91, -0.12)) and rural residence (-0.46 (-0.92, 0.00)). The findings highlight associations between dietary diversity and food sources and indicate avenues for further research to inform policy actions aimed at improving local food production and diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu12113350DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7692177PMC
October 2020

Biomarker-estimated flavan-3-ol intake is associated with lower blood pressure in cross-sectional analysis in EPIC Norfolk.

Sci Rep 2020 10 21;10(1):17964. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK.

Flavan-3-ols are a group of bioactive compounds that have been shown to improve vascular function in intervention studies. They are therefore of great interest for the development of dietary recommendation for the prevention of cardio-vascular diseases. However, there are currently no reliable data from observational studies, as the high variability in the flavan-3-ol content of food makes it difficult to estimate actual intake without nutritional biomarkers. In this study, we investigated cross-sectional associations between biomarker-estimated flavan-3-ol intake and blood pressure and other CVD risk markers, as well as longitudinal associations with CVD risk in 25,618 participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) Norfolk cohort. High flavan-3-ol intake, achievable as part of an habitual diet, was associated with a significantly lower systolic blood pressure (- 1.9 (- 2.7; - 1.1) mmHg in men and - 2.5 (- 3.3; - 1.8) mmHg in women; lowest vs highest decile of biomarker), comparable to adherence to a Mediterranean Diet or moderate salt reduction. Subgroup analyses showed that hypertensive participants had stronger inverse association between flavan-3-ol biomarker and systolic blood pressure when compared to normotensive participants. Flavanol intake could therefore have a role in the maintenance of cardiovascular health on a population scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-74863-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7578063PMC
October 2020

The association between circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D metabolites and type 2 diabetes in European populations: A meta-analysis and Mendelian randomisation analysis.

PLoS Med 2020 10 16;17(10):e1003394. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Background: Prior research suggested a differential association of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) metabolites with type 2 diabetes (T2D), with total 25(OH)D and 25(OH)D3 inversely associated with T2D, but the epimeric form (C3-epi-25(OH)D3) positively associated with T2D. Whether or not these observational associations are causal remains uncertain. We aimed to examine the potential causality of these associations using Mendelian randomisation (MR) analysis.

Methods And Findings: We performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for total 25(OH)D (N = 120,618), 25(OH)D3 (N = 40,562), and C3-epi-25(OH)D3 (N = 40,562) in participants of European descent (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition [EPIC]-InterAct study, EPIC-Norfolk study, EPIC-CVD study, Ely study, and the SUNLIGHT consortium). We identified genetic variants for MR analysis to investigate the causal association of the 25(OH)D metabolites with T2D (including 80,983 T2D cases and 842,909 non-cases). We also estimated the observational association of 25(OH)D metabolites with T2D by performing random effects meta-analysis of results from previous studies and results from the EPIC-InterAct study. We identified 10 genetic loci associated with total 25(OH)D, 7 loci associated with 25(OH)D3 and 3 loci associated with C3-epi-25(OH)D3. Based on the meta-analysis of observational studies, each 1-standard deviation (SD) higher level of 25(OH)D was associated with a 20% lower risk of T2D (relative risk [RR]: 0.80; 95% CI 0.77, 0.84; p < 0.001), but a genetically predicted 1-SD increase in 25(OH)D was not significantly associated with T2D (odds ratio [OR]: 0.96; 95% CI 0.89, 1.03; p = 0.23); this result was consistent across sensitivity analyses. In EPIC-InterAct, 25(OH)D3 (per 1-SD) was associated with a lower risk of T2D (RR: 0.81; 95% CI 0.77, 0.86; p < 0.001), while C3-epi-25(OH)D3 (above versus below lower limit of quantification) was positively associated with T2D (RR: 1.12; 95% CI 1.03, 1.22; p = 0.006), but neither 25(OH)D3 (OR: 0.97; 95% CI 0.93, 1.01; p = 0.14) nor C3-epi-25(OH)D3 (OR: 0.98; 95% CI 0.93, 1.04; p = 0.53) was causally associated with T2D risk in the MR analysis. Main limitations include the lack of a non-linear MR analysis and of the generalisability of the current findings from European populations to other populations of different ethnicities.

Conclusions: Our study found discordant associations of biochemically measured and genetically predicted differences in blood 25(OH)D with T2D risk. The findings based on MR analysis in a large sample of European ancestry do not support a causal association of total 25(OH)D or 25(OH)D metabolites with T2D and argue against the use of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003394DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7567390PMC
October 2020

Association between nutritional profiles of foods underlying Nutri-Score front-of-pack labels and mortality: EPIC cohort study in 10 European countries.

BMJ 2020 09 16;370:m3173. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

AOU Federico II, Naples, Italy.

Objective: To determine if the Food Standards Agency nutrient profiling system (FSAm-NPS), which grades the nutritional quality of food products and is used to derive the Nutri-Score front-of-packet label to guide consumers towards healthier food choices, is associated with mortality.

Design: Population based cohort study.

Setting: European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort from 23 centres in 10 European countries.

Participants: 521 324 adults; at recruitment, country specific and validated dietary questionnaires were used to assess their usual dietary intakes. A FSAm-NPS score was calculated for each food item per 100 g content of energy, sugars, saturated fatty acids, sodium, fibre, and protein, and of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. The FSAm-NPS dietary index was calculated for each participant as an energy weighted mean of the FSAm-NPS score of all foods consumed. The higher the score the lower the overall nutritional quality of the diet.

Main Outcome Measure: Associations between the FSAm-NPS dietary index score and mortality, assessed using multivariable adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models.

Results: After exclusions, 501 594 adults (median follow-up 17.2 years, 8 162 730 person years) were included in the analyses. Those with a higher FSAm-NPS dietary index score (highest versus lowest fifth) showed an increased risk of all cause mortality (n=53 112 events from non-external causes; hazard ratio 1.07, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.10, P<0.001 for trend) and mortality from cancer (1.08, 1.03 to 1.13, P<0.001 for trend) and diseases of the circulatory (1.04, 0.98 to 1.11, P=0.06 for trend), respiratory (1.39, 1.22 to 1.59, P<0.001), and digestive (1.22, 1.02 to 1.45, P=0.03 for trend) systems. The age standardised absolute rates for all cause mortality per 10 000 persons over 10 years were 760 (men=1237; women=563) for those in the highest fifth of the FSAm-NPS dietary index score and 661 (men=1008; women=518) for those in the lowest fifth.

Conclusions: In this large multinational European cohort, consuming foods with a higher FSAm-NPS score (lower nutritional quality) was associated with a higher mortality for all causes and for cancer and diseases of the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems, supporting the relevance of FSAm-NPS to characterise healthier food choices in the context of public health policies (eg, the Nutri-Score) for European populations. This is important considering ongoing discussions about the potential implementation of a unique nutrition labelling system at the European Union level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3173DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7491938PMC
September 2020

Replacement of Red and Processed Meat With Other Food Sources of Protein and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in European Populations: The EPIC-InterAct Study.

Diabetes Care 2020 11 31;43(11):2660-2667. Epub 2020 Aug 31.

CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain.

Objective: There is sparse evidence for the association of suitable food substitutions for red and processed meat on the risk of type 2 diabetes. We modeled the association between replacing red and processed meat with other protein sources and the risk of type 2 diabetes and estimated its population impact.

Research Design And Methods: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-InterAct case cohort included 11,741 individuals with type 2 diabetes and a subcohort of 15,450 participants in eight countries. We modeled the replacement of self-reported red and processed meat with poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, cheese, cereals, yogurt, milk, and nuts. Country-specific hazard ratios (HRs) for incident type 2 diabetes were estimated by Prentice-weighted Cox regression and pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: There was a lower hazard for type 2 diabetes for the modeled replacement of red and processed meat (50 g/day) with cheese (HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83-0.97) (30 g/day), yogurt (0.90, 0.86-0.95) (70 g/day), nuts (0.90, 0.84-0.96) (10 g/day), or cereals (0.92, 0.88-0.96) (30 g/day) but not for replacements with poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, or milk. If a causal association is assumed, replacing red and processed meat with cheese, yogurt, or nuts could prevent 8.8%, 8.3%, or 7.5%, respectively, of new cases of type 2 diabetes.

Conclusions: Replacement of red and processed meat with cheese, yogurt, nuts, or cereals was associated with a lower rate of type 2 diabetes. Substituting red and processed meat by other protein sources may contribute to the prevention of incident type 2 diabetes in European populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc20-1038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7576430PMC
November 2020

Vitamin D for COVID-19: a case to answer?

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2020 09 3;8(9):735-736. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30268-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7398646PMC
September 2020

Insights into genetic variants associated with NASH-fibrosis from metabolite profiling.

Hum Mol Genet 2020 12;29(20):3451-3463

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0SL, UK.

Several genetic discoveries robustly implicate five single-nucleotide variants in the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and fibrosis (NASH-fibrosis), including a recently identified variant in MTARC1. To better understand these variants as potential therapeutic targets, we aimed to characterize their impact on metabolism using comprehensive metabolomics data from two population-based studies. A total of 9135 participants from the Fenland study and 9902 participants from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort were included in the study. We identified individuals with risk alleles associated with NASH-fibrosis: rs738409C>G in PNPLA3, rs58542926C>T in TM6SF2, rs641738C>T near MBOAT7, rs72613567TA>T in HSD17B13 and rs2642438A>G in MTARC1. Circulating levels of 1449 metabolites were measured using targeted and untargeted metabolomics. Associations between NASH-fibrosis variants and metabolites were assessed using linear regression. The specificity of variant-metabolite associations were compared to metabolite associations with ultrasound-defined steatosis, gene variants linked to liver fat (in GCKR, PPP1R3B and LYPLAL1) and gene variants linked to cirrhosis (in HFE and SERPINA1). Each NASH-fibrosis variant demonstrated a specific metabolite profile with little overlap (8/97 metabolites) comprising diverse aspects of lipid metabolism. Risk alleles in PNPLA3 and HSD17B13 were both associated with higher 3-methylglutarylcarnitine and three variants were associated with lower lysophosphatidylcholine C14:0. The risk allele in MTARC1 was associated with higher levels of sphingomyelins. There was no overlap with metabolites that associated with HFE or SERPINA1 variants. Our results suggest a link between the NASH-protective variant in MTARC1 to the metabolism of sphingomyelins and identify distinct molecular patterns associated with each of the NASH-fibrosis variants under investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa162DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7116726PMC
December 2020

Association of plasma biomarkers of fruit and vegetable intake with incident type 2 diabetes: EPIC-InterAct case-cohort study in eight European countries.

BMJ 2020 07 8;370:m2194. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Objective: To investigate the association of plasma vitamin C and carotenoids, as indicators of fruit and vegetable intake, with the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Design: Prospective case-cohort study.

Setting: Populations from eight European countries.

Participants: 9754 participants with incident type 2 diabetes, and a subcohort of 13 662 individuals from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort of 340 234 participants: EPIC-InterAct case-cohort study.

Main Outcome Measure: Incident type 2 diabetes.

Results: In a multivariable adjusted model, higher plasma vitamin C was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio per standard deviation 0.82, 95% confidence interval 0.76 to 0.89). A similar inverse association was shown for total carotenoids (hazard ratio per standard deviation 0.75, 0.68 to 0.82). A composite biomarker score (split into five equal groups), comprising vitamin C and individual carotenoids, was inversely associated with type 2 diabetes with hazard ratios 0.77, 0.66, 0.59, and 0.50 for groups 2-5 compared with group 1 (the lowest group). Self-reported median fruit and vegetable intake was 274 g/day, 396 g/day, and 508 g/day for participants in categories defined by groups 1, 3, and 5 of the composite biomarker score, respectively. One standard deviation difference in the composite biomarker score, equivalent to a 66 (95% confidence interval 61 to 71) g/day difference in total fruit and vegetable intake, was associated with a hazard ratio of 0.75 (0.67 to 0.83). This would be equivalent to an absolute risk reduction of 0.95 per 1000 person years of follow up if achieved across an entire population with the characteristics of the eight European countries included in this analysis.

Conclusions: These findings indicate an inverse association between plasma vitamin C, carotenoids, and their composite biomarker score, and incident type 2 diabetes in different European countries. These biomarkers are objective indicators of fruit and vegetable consumption, and suggest that diets rich in even modestly higher fruit and vegetable consumption could help to prevent development of type 2 diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2194DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7341350PMC
July 2020