Fruit, Mediterranean-style, and high-fat and -sugar diets are associated with the risk of night sweats and hot flushes in midlife: results from a prospective cohort study

Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 May;97(5):1092-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.049965. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


Background: Diet has been suggested to be a potential risk factor for vasomotor menopausal symptoms (VMSs), ie, hot flushes and night sweats.

Objective: We investigated the associations between dietary patterns and risk of VMSs by using data from middle-aged women born between 1946 and 1951 in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.

Design: A prospective cohort study of 6040 women with a natural menopause were followed up at 3-y intervals over 9 y. Dietary intake was assessed at baseline in 2001, and the presence of VMSs was assessed at baseline and follow-up. Factor analysis and generalized estimating equation models for binary repeated measures were performed.

Results: Six dietary patterns were identified from factor analysis: cooked vegetables, fruit, Mediterranean style, meat and processed meat, dairy, and high fat and sugar. A higher consumption of the fruit or Mediterranean-style diet was inversely associated with VMSs in a comparison of the top with the bottom quintile, with adjusted ORs of 0.81 (95% CI: 0.71, 0.93; P-trend = 0.0009) and 0.80 (95% CI: 0.69, 0.92; P-trend = 0.0004), respectively. The high-fat and -sugar pattern increased the risk of VMSs in a comparison of the top with the bottom quintile, with an adjusted OR of 1.23 (95% CI: 1.05, 1.44; P-trend = 0.02).

Conclusions: Consumption of a fruit or Mediterranean-style diet decreased the risk of reporting VMSs, whereas consumption of a high-fat and -sugar diet increased the risk of VMSs. These results may eventually lead to a basis for the development of dietary preventive measures for VMSs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Meat Products
  • Menopause / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Sucrose