Background and aims: Carotenoids may reduce diabetes risk, due to their antioxidant properties. However, the association between dietary carotenoids intake and type 2 diabetes risk is still unclear. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine whether higher dietary carotenoid intakes associate with reduced type 2 diabetes risk.
Methods and results: Data from 37,846 participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition- Netherlands study were analyzed. Dietary intakes of β-carotene, α-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein & zeaxanthin and the sum of these carotenoids were assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Incident type 2 diabetes was mainly self-reported, and verified against general practitioner information. Mean ±SD total carotenoid intake was 10 ± 4 mg/day. During a mean ±SD follow-up of 10 ± 2 years, 915 incident cases of type 2 diabetes were ascertained. After adjustment for age, sex, diabetes risk factors, dietary intake, waist circumference and BMI, higher β-carotene intakes associated inversely with diabetes risk [Hazard Ratio quartile 4 versus quartile 1 (HR(Q4)): 0.78 (95%CI:0.64,0.95), P-linear trend 0.01]. For α-carotene, a borderline significant reduced risk was observed, with a HR(Q4) of 0.85 (95%CI:0.70,1.03), and P-linear trend 0.05. β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein & zeaxanthin, and the sum of all carotenoids did not associate with diabetes risk.
Conclusions: This study shows that diets high in β-carotene and α-carotene are associated with reduced type 2 diabetes in generally healthy men and women.
Keywords: Carotenoids; Cohort study; Diet; Type 2 diabetes; α-carotene; β-carotene.
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