Is carbohydrate intake in the first years of life related to future risk of NCDs?

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012 Oct;22(10):770-4. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 Jul 11.


Studies on children's carbohydrate intake, especially fibre intake, and its associations with later health are rare. The current recommendations for fibre intake in children are based on average assumptions and data extrapolated from intakes in adults. Generally, increase in whole-grain consumption and decrease in sucrose intake are considered healthy. Due to fibre's high bulk volume however, excessive dietary fibre has been feared to decrease energy density have effects on growth, at least in developing countries and in children consuming very restricted diets. Furthermore, it has been speculated that if fats are reduced from the diet, it may become high in sucrose. In STRIP study, which is a long-term, randomized controlled trial designed to decrease the exposure of children to known risk factors of atherosclerosis, carbohydrate intakes have been investigated in detail in children aged 13 months to 9 years. The intervention was successful in decreasing saturated fat intake and cholesterol concentrations throughout childhood and adolescence. The study results also show that a higher than average fibre intake does not displace energy or disturb growth in children and that children with high fibre intake have better dietary quality than those with low fibre intake. Dietary fibre intake associated with lower serum total cholesterol concentrations whereas increases in total carbohydrate, sucrose and fructose intakes associated with increases in serum triglyceride concentrations. In conclusion, from the point of view of CHD risk factor prevention, efforts aiming at increasing the fibre intake while restricting that of refined sugar seem justified in the child population in developed countries.

Clinical trial registration information: NCT00223600.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Developing Countries
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol

Associated data