Association of macronutrient consumption with arterial aging in adults without clinically overt cardiovascular disease: a 5-year prospective cohort study

Eur J Nutr. 2019 Sep;58(6):2305-2314. doi: 10.1007/s00394-018-1781-3. Epub 2018 Jul 23.


Purpose: There is limited and inconsistent evidence regarding longitudinal effects of macronutrients on blood pressure (BP) haemodynamics and arterial aging in populations without cardiovascular disease (CVD). We aimed to prospectively investigate potential association of dietary macronutrients with long-term changes in peripheral and central haemodynamics and arterial stiffness.

Methods: One hundred and fifteen subjects (46.7 ± 8.73 years, 70 women), free of clinically overt CVD were consecutively recruited. Dietary macronutrient intake was evaluated using 3-day food records at baseline. Aortic stiffness and arterial wave reflections were assessed at baseline and in one follow-up visit 5 years later by pulse wave velocity (PWV) and augmentation index (AI), respectively.

Results: Individuals with the highest consumption of saturated fatty acids (SFA) presented the highest rate of progression in PWV, AI and aortic diastolic BP (p < 0.05 for all) after adjustment for age, gender, smoking, body mass index, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance, changes in systolic BP and treatment with antihypertensive and hypolipidemic drugs. After similar multivariable adjustments, high consumption of carbohydrates was associated with higher progression of AI, whereas high consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and fibre with lower progression in aortic and peripheral systolic and diastolic BP (p < 0.05 for all).

Conclusions: In subjects without CVD, high consumption of SFA is related to accelerated arterial stiffening, while high consumption of MUFA and fibre and low intake of carbohydrates is associated with attenuated progression in blood pressure and arterial wave reflections, respectively. These findings expand current knowledge on the association of macronutrient consumption with arterial aging in the general population.

Keywords: Arterial stiffness; Carbohydrates; Fatty acids; Fibre; Haemodynamics; Monounsaturated fatty acids.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology*