Food intake of individuals with and without diabetes across different countries and ethnic groups

U. Nöthlings, H. Boeing, G. Maskarinec, D. Sluik, B. Teucher, R. Kaaks, A. Tjønneland, J. Halkjaer, C. Dethlefsen, K. Overvad, P. Amiano, E. Toledo, B. Bendinelli, S. Grioni, R. Tumino, C. Sacerdote, A. Mattiello, J. W.J. Beulens, J. A. Iestra, A. M.W. SpijkermanD. L. Van Der A, P. Nilsson, E. Sonestedt, O. Rolandsson, P. W. Franks, A. C. Vergnaud, D. Romaguera, T. Norat, L. N. Kolonel

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Objectives:Given the importance of nutrition therapy in diabetes management, we hypothesized that food intake differs between individuals with and without diabetes. We investigated this hypothesis in two large prospective studies including different countries and ethnic groups.Subjects/Methods:Study populations were the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study (EPIC) and the Multiethnic Cohort Study (MEC). Dietary intake was assessed by food frequency questionnaires, and calibrated using 24h-recall information for the EPIC Study. Only confirmed self-reports of diabetes at cohort entry were included: 6192 diabetes patients in EPIC and 13 776 in the MEC. For the cross-sectional comparison of food intake and lifestyle variables at baseline, individuals with and without diabetes were matched 1:1 on sex, age in 5-year categories, body mass index in 2.5 kg/m 2 categories and country.Results:Higher intake of soft drinks (by 13 and 44% in the EPIC and MEC), and lower consumption of sweets, juice, wine and beer (10% difference) were observed in participants with diabetes compared with those without. Consumption of vegetables, fish and meat was slightly higher in individuals with diabetes in both studies, but the differences were 10%. Findings were more consistent across different ethnic groups than countries, but generally showed largely similar patterns.Conclusions:Although diabetes patients are expected to undergo nutritional education, we found only small differences in dietary behavior in comparison with cohort members without diabetes. These findings suggest that emphasis on education is needed to improve the current behaviors to assist in the prevention of complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-641
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • Diabetes
  • behavior
  • food intake
  • medical nutrition therapy
  • secondary prevention

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