Association between dietary inflammatory index and inflammatory markers in the HELENA study

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jun;61(6):10.1002/mnfr.201600707. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600707. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Background: Previous research has shown that diet is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation among adults. However, no study has yet been conducted to explore the association between inflammatory potential of diet and low-grade systemic inflammation among adolescents whose dietary behavior may be different from adults.

Methods and results: We examine the predictive ability of 24-h recall-derived dietary inflammatory index (DII) scores on inflammation among 532 European adolescents in the HELENA cross-sectional study. The DII is a literature-derived dietary index developed to predict inflammation. The DII was calculated per 1000 calories and was tested against C-reactive protein, ILs-1,2,4,10, TNF-α, ICAM, vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM), and IFN-γ. All inflammatory markers had nonnormal distributions and therefore were log transformed. Analyses were performed using multivariable linear regression, adjusting for age, sex, city, BMI, smoking, and physical activity. Pro-inflammatory diet (higher DII scores) was associated with increased levels of various inflammatory markers: TNF-α, IL-1, 2, IFN-γ, and vascular cell adhesion molecule (bDIIt3vs1 = 0.13, 95% CI: 0.001, 0.25; 0.13, 95% CI 0.001, 0.25; 0.40, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.77; 0.53, 95% CI: 0.05, 1.01; 0.07, 95% CI: 0.01, 0.13, respectively).

Conclusion: These results reinforce the fact that diet, as a whole, plays an important role in modifying inflammation in adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents; Cross-sectional; Diet; HELENA; Inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Diet*
  • Exercise
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Linear Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Sugars / adverse effects


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Fatty Acids
  • Sugars
  • C-Reactive Protein