Background/aims: The highest incidence of type 1 diabetes is among 10- to 15-year-old adolescents. The aim of this study was to investigate a possible relationship between the dietary intake of this group and the incidence of type 1 diabetes.
Methods: Dietary intake data of 10- to 16-year-old adolescents (n = 4,701) from 11 European countries and the incidence rates of type 1 diabetes were used to examine the relation between food and the disease.
Results: The incidence of type 1 diabetes correlated with the consumption of total fat (r = 0.674; p = 0.023), saturated fatty acids (r = 0.714; p = 0.047) and the intake of fruits and vegetables (r = 0.786; p = 0.036). Fruit intake or vegetable intake alone did not correlate with the incidence. Cow's milk and animal product consumption correlated with the incidence when Icelandic data were excluded (r = 0.829; p = 0.042 and r = 0.999; p = 0.001). A negative correlation of borderline significance was found between sugar intake and the incidence of type 1 diabetes (r = -0.721; p = 0.068).
Conclusion: The results indicate for the first time that an adolescent's diet high in fat and fruits and vegetables is associated with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes. Fruit or vegetable intake separately was not associated with type 1 diabetes. It is important to characterize and minimize diabetogenic factors in fruits and vegetables as the general health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are well known and such a diet is therefore recommended. This study supports previous research about the importance of cow's milk and animal products in the aetiology of type 1 diabetes.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel