Male non-drinkers who eat more vegetables and less animal fat have a lower risk of diabetes

In a recent study published in Nutrients, researchers examine the associations between nutrient intake, alcohol use, and diabetes incidence in Japanese residents.

Study: Higher Intake of Vegetable Protein and Lower Intake of Animal Fats Reduce the Incidence of Diabetes in Non-Drinking Males: A Prospective Epidemiological Analysis of the Shika Study. Image Credit: Proxima Studio / Shutterstock.com

Study: Higher Intake of Vegetable Protein and Lower Intake of Animal Fats Reduce the Incidence of Diabetes in Non-Drinking Males: A Prospective Epidemiological Analysis of the Shika Study. Image Credit: Proxima Studio / Shutterstock.com

Diabetes risk and nutrition

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing globally, with current estimates indicating that this condition will affect 592 million people by 2035.

According to a Japanese survey, nearly 20% of males and 11% of females were suspected of having diabetes in 2019. There are also increasing concerns that the prevalence of diabetes might increase due to the rapid aging of the Japanese population.

Notably, previous studies have reported that dietary fiber and magnesium intake were associated with a reduced T2D risk. Moreover, inverse correlations were observed between T2D development and vegetable protein consumption, while some studies have found no such associations.

The relationship between diabetes risk and nutrient intake remains unclear and is likely due to the involvement of lifestyle habits like alcohol consumption.

About the study

In the present study, researchers investigate the relationships between the intake of nutrients and alcohol and diabetes incidence. Longitudinal data from the Shika study, which began in 2011, were used for the present analysis.

Eligible participants included residents aged 40 or older. A baseline analysis was conducted between 2011 and 2012 to obtain information on demographics, lifestyle habits, nutrient intake, and diabetes. Later, a follow-up analysis was performed between 2018 and 2019 using questionnaires and medical records on diabetes.

Nutrient intake was examined using a questionnaire listing 58 food and beverage items. Reported consumption was converted into energy and macro/micronutrient values.

Participants were also classified into drinkers and non-drinkers or smokers and non-smokers. Those reporting an intake of less than 600 kcal or over 4,000 kcal energy/day were excluded.

A one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed to compare the nutrient consumption between diabetes and non-diabetes groups. A two-way ANCOVA examined the interactions of diabetes incidence and drinking habits on nutrient intake.

Between-group differences in nutrient intake were tested using the Bonferroni post hoc test. Multiple logistic regression was applied to investigate the associations between nutrient intake and diabetes incidence.

Study findings

Overall, 2,264 residents were eligible for baseline analysis. Of these, 316 were non-respondents; therefore, 1,948 participants were ultimately included in the analysis.

Among these, 1,670 subjects were eligible for the follow-up analyses following exclusions, with only 1,116 respondents remaining. The final analytic sample comprised 969 individuals, with an average age of 60 among males and about 62 among females.

Males exhibited significantly higher body mass index (BMI) values than females. In addition, more smokers/drinkers were identified among males than females.

No significant differences in diabetes incidence in the follow-up investigations were observed between males and females. Hypertension prevalence was also not different between males and females. Nonetheless, animal protein/fat, vegetable protein/fat, or carbohydrate intake was significantly greater in females than males.

Males in the diabetes group were significantly older and had a higher BMI value than those without diabetes, while these differences were not evident in females. The proportion of drinkers/smokers and those with frequent leisure-time physical activity and hypertension prevalence were not significantly different between those with and without diabetes.

The average intake of nutrients was not significantly different between the diabetes and non-diabetes groups. Interactions of drinking habits and diabetes incidence on vegetable protein and animal fat intake were identified among males.

Vegetable protein intake was significantly lower in the diabetes group than in the non-diabetes group. Conversely, animal fat intake was significantly increased among non-drinkers in the diabetes group.

A negative correlation between diabetes incidence and vegetable protein intake was observed, in addition to a positive correlation between animal fat intake and diabetes incidence among non-drinkers. That is, diabetes incidence increased when vegetable protein intake declined and animal fat intake increased among non-drinkers.

Conclusions

The interactions of drinking habits and diabetes incidence on nutrient intake indicate that vegetable protein intake prevented diabetes, while animal fat consumption promoted/increased the prevalence of this condition in non-drinking males.

Data were subjective, given the self-reported nature, which might cause recall bias. Moreover, diabetes incidence was self-reported and not verified from medical records for some participants.

The diabetes assessment questionnaire has not yet been evaluated for validity or reproducibility; however, medical data were used when needed. Notably, the low follow-up rate might have resulted in withdrawal biases.

Taken together, the researchers demonstrate that an increased intake of vegetable proteins and reduced consumption of animal fats were associated with lower diabetes incidence among non-drinking males.

Journal reference:
  • Ogawa, A., Tsujiguchi, H., Nakamura, M., et al. (2023). Higher Intake of Vegetable Protein and Lower Intake of Animal Fats Reduce the Incidence of Diabetes in Non-Drinking Males: A Prospective Epidemiological Analysis of the Shika Study. Nutrients. doi:10.3390/nu15041040https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/15/4/1040
Tarun Sai Lomte

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Tarun Sai Lomte

Tarun is a writer based in Hyderabad, India. He has a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of Hyderabad and is enthusiastic about scientific research. He enjoys reading research papers and literature reviews and is passionate about writing.

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