Aim: To study the association between carbohydrate intake and serum lipids in children, and influence of apolipoprotein E phenotype (apoE) on the association.
Subjects/methods: A total of 644 children from a prospective, randomized atherosclerosis prevention trial (STRIP) participated in this longitudinal study at age 5 (n = 644), 7 (n = 585) and 9 (n = 550) years. ApoE phenotype, fasting triglyceride, total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentrations and 4-day food records were analysed.
Results: An increase in the total carbohydrate intake by 1 E% (percentage of total daily energy intake) associated with a decrease in HDL cholesterol by 0.006 mmol/L (p < 0.001) when adjusted for saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acid, age, gender, body mass index and STRIP study group. The inverse association between total carbohydrate intake and HDL cholesterol was evident in children with apoE3 (p < 0.001) or apoE4 (p < 0.001), but not in those with apoE2 (p = 0.78). An increase in total carbohydrate intake by 1 E% increased triglycerides by 0.02 mmol/L (p < 0.001) independently of apoE phenotype, while 1 E% increase in sucrose intake increased triglycerides by 0.01 mmol/L (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Carbohydrate intake has a relatively small effect on serum lipids in children. Children with the apoE3 or E4 but not with E2 phenotype show reduction in HDL cholesterol with increasing carbohydrate intake indicating that genetic and environmental factors interact with children's lipoprotein metabolism.