The appropriate proportions of macronutritional intake have been controversial in medical nutritional therapy for diabetes, and evidence of the effects of carbohydrate consumption on diabetes complications in prospective settings is sparse. We investigated the relationships between proportions of carbohydrate intake as the % of total energy and diabetes complications in a nationwide cohort of Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes aged 40-70 years with hemoglobin A1c ≥6.5%. The analysis was of 1516 responders to a baseline dietary survey assessed by the Food Frequency Questionnaire based on food groups. Primary outcomes were times to overt nephropathy, diabetic retinopathy, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) after 8 years. Hazard ratios (HRs) for proportions of carbohydrate intake were estimated by Cox regression adjusted for confounders. High carbohydrate intake was significantly related to higher intakes of grain, fruits, and sweets/snacks and lower intakes of soybean and soy products, vegetables, seaweed, meat and processed meat, fish and processed fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, oil, and alcoholic beverages. During the eight-year follow-up, there were 81, 275, and 129 events of overt nephropathy, diabetic retinopathy, and CVD, respectively. After adjustment for confounders, HRs for complications in patients with carbohydrate intake in the second or third tertiles (51.0%-56.4% and ≥56.5%, respectively) compared with carbohydrate intake in the first tertile (<50.9%, referent) were analyzed. No significant associations were shown in the second and third tertiles relative to first tertile (overt nephropathy: 1.05 (95% Confidence Interval, 0.54-2.06) and 0.98 (0.40-2.44); diabetic retinopathy: 1.30 (0.90-1.88) and 1.30 (0.78-2.15); and CVD: 0.95 (0.55-1.63) and 1.37 (0.69-2.72)). By exploring potentially nonlinear relationships, trends for the incidence of diabetes complications according to proportions of carbohydrate intake were not clearly shown. Findings suggested that proportions of carbohydrate intake were not associated with the incidence of diabetes complications among type 2 diabetes patients in Japan.
Keywords: carbohydrate intake; diabetes complications; type 2 diabetes.