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15-07-2009 | Diabetes | Article

Dietary nutrient intake linked to HbA1c status


Free abstract

MedWire News: Long-term dietary consumption of specific nutrients can influence glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) concentrations and may raise the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, epidemiologic data suggest.

The findings are reported by Celia Prynne (Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Cambridge, UK) and team, who studied 1065 participants in the 1946 British Birth Cohort. This was a random sample initiated by the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development in which participants were evaluated at ages 36, 43, and 53 years.

Prynne’s team analyzed the participants’ diets at each of the three timepoints and classified their HbA1c levels at the 1999 evaluation as either normal (≤6.2%) or raised (≥6.3%).

Writing in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Prynne et al report that certain dietary characteristics in 1989 – namely, lower intakes of protein, carbohydrate, non-starch polysaccharide, iron, folate, vitamin B12, and a higher percentage of energy from fat – predicted raised HbA1c levels in 1999.

Furthermore, intakes of energy, carbohydrate, sodium, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 at all three evaluations were significantly related to HbA1c status in 1999.

The researchers note that raised HbA1c levels are a recognized risk factor for diabetes mellitus; accordingly, their results suggest that increased intake of foods containing certain nutrients might be associated with an increased risk for developing diabetes.

Increased energy intake, leading to weight gain, may be the driving force behind this association, they suggest; it may also be relevant to consider the principle source of these nutrients – namely, milk, meat, and meat products.

“[There are] individuals whose elevated HbA1c and higher energy intake, combined with a lower intake of certain micronutrients and a higher intake of others, may place them at risk of developing Type II diabetes some time in the future,” Prynne et al conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Joanna Lyford