BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Diabetic women have a more adverse plasma lipid profile than men. Sex differences in dietary habits may play a role, but are little investigated. The study evaluates the quality of diet, adherence to the nutritional recommendations of the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group and their relation with plasma lipid in men and women with diabetes.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied 2573 people, aged 50-75, enrolled in the TOSCA.IT study (clinicaltrials.gov; NCT00700856). Plasma lipids were measured centrally. Diet was assessed with a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Women had a more adverse plasma lipid profile than men. Women consumed significantly more legumes, vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, vegetable oils, and added sugar, whereas men consumed more starchy foods, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. This stands for a higher proportion (%) of energy intake from saturated fat and added sugar (12.0 ± 2.4 vs 11.5 ± 2.5 and 3.4 ± 3.2 vs 2.3 ± 3.2, P < 0.04), and a higher intake of fiber (11.2 ± 2.8 vs 10.4 ± 2.6 g/1000 Kcal/day) in women. Adherence to the recommendations for saturated fat and fiber consumption was associated with significantly lower LDL-cholesterol regardless of sex. Adherence to the recommendations for added sugars was associated with significantly lower triglycerides and higher HDL-cholesterol in men and women.
CONCLUSIONS: Men and women with diabetes show significant differences in adherence to nutritional recommendations, but sex differences in plasma lipid profile are unlikely to be explained by nutritional factors. Adherence to the nutritional recommendations is associated with a better plasma lipid profile regardless of sex, thus reinforcing the importance of substituting saturated for unsaturated fat sources, increasing fiber and reducing added sugar intake.
- Journal Article