Vegetable, but Not Potato, Intake Is Associated With a Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort

Diabetes Care. 2023 Feb 1;46(2):286-296. doi: 10.2337/dc22-0974.


Objective: To examine the relationship between intake of vegetables/potatoes and incident type 2 diabetes (T2D) and explore whether the relationship between vegetable intake and incident T2D is mediated by baseline BMI.

Research design and methods: Cross-sectional associations between exposure (baseline intake of total vegetables, vegetable subgroups, and potatoes) and baseline BMI were assessed by multivariable-adjusted linear regression models. Associations between exposure and incident T2D were examined by multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models. Mediation by BMI was quantified through exploration of natural direct and indirect effects.

Results: Among 54,793 participants in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort, 7,695 cases of T2D were recorded during a median follow-up of 16.3 years. Participants in the highest total vegetable intake quintile (median 319 g/day) had a 0.35 kg/m2 (95% CI -0.46, -0.24) lower BMI and a 21% (95% CI 16, 26%) lower risk of incident T2D after multivariable adjustment compared with those in the lowest quintile (median 67 g/day). Baseline BMI mediated ∼21% of the association between vegetable intake and incident T2D. Participants in the highest compared with the lowest (median 256 vs. 52 g/day) potato intake quintile had a 9% (95% CI 2, 16%) higher risk of T2D after multivariable adjustment, with no association found after accounting for underlying dietary pattern. Of the vegetable subclasses, higher intake of green leafy and cruciferous vegetables was associated with a statistically significantly lower risk of T2D.

Conclusions: The findings provide evidence that a higher vegetable, but not potato, intake might help mitigate T2D risk, partly by reducing BMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / prevention & control
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Solanum tuberosum*
  • Vegetables