Low-carbohydrate-diet Score and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women

Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):339-46. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.2.339.

Abstract

Background: Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets remain popular; however, the long-term effects of these diets are not known.

Objective: The objective was to examine the association between low-carbohydrate-diet score and risk of type 2 diabetes

Design: We prospectively examined the association between low-carbohydrate-diet score (based on percentage of energy as carbohydrate, fat, and protein) and risk of diabetes among 85 059 women in the Nurses' Health Study.

Results: During 20 y of follow-up, we documented 4670 cases of type 2 diabetes. The multivariate relative risk (RR) of diabetes, after adjustment for body mass index and other covariates, in a comparison of the highest decile of low-carbohydrate-diet score with the lowest was 0.90 (95% CI: 0.78, 1.04; P for trend = 0.26). The multivariate RR for the comparison of extreme deciles of low-carbohydrate-diet score based on total carbohydrate, animal protein, and animal fat was 0.99 (95% CI: 0.85, 1.16; P for trend = 1.0), whereas the RR for a low-carbohydrate-diet score based on total carbohydrate, vegetable protein, and vegetable fat was 0.82 (95% CI: 0.71, 0.94; P for trend = 0.001). A higher dietary glycemic load was strongly associated with an increased risk of diabetes in a comparison of extreme deciles (RR: 2.47; 95% CI: 1.75, 3.47; P for trend < 0.0001)). A higher carbohydrate consumption was also associated with an increased risk of diabetes in a comparison of extreme deciles (RR: 1.26; 95% CI: 1.07, 1.49; P for trend = 0.003).

Conclusion: These data suggest that diets lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat and protein do not increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. In fact, diets rich in vegetable sources of fat and protein may modestly reduce the risk of diabetes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nurses / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology

Substances

  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins