Higher habitual intakes of flavonoids and flavonoid-rich foods are associated with a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes in the UK Biobank cohort

Alysha S. Thompson, Amy Jennings, Nicola P. Bondonno, Anna Tresserra-Rimbau, Benjamin H. Parmenter, Claire Hill, Aurora Perez-Cornago, Tilman Kühn*, Aedín Cassidy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Aim
To examine the associations of a diet high in flavonoid-rich foods, as reflected by a “Flavodiet Score” (FDS), the major individual food contributors to flavonoid intake, and flavonoid subclasses with type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk in the UK Biobank cohort.

Materials and methods
Flavonoid intakes were estimated from ≥2 dietary assessments among 113,097 study participants [age at enrolment: 56 ± 8 years; 57% female] using the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) databases. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to investigate associations between dietary exposures and T2D.

Results
During 12 years of follow-up, 2628 incident cases of T2D were identified. A higher FDS (compared to lower [Q4 vs. Q1]), characterised by an average of 6 servings of flavonoid-rich foods per day, was associated with a 26% lower T2D risk [HR: 0.74 (95% CI: 0.66–0.84), ptrend = <0.001]. Mediation analyses showed that lower body fatness and basal inflammation, as well as better kidney and liver function partially explain this association. In food-based analyses, higher intakes of black or green tea, berries, and apples were significantly associated with 21%, 15%, and 12% lower T2D risk. Among individual flavonoid subclasses, 19–28% lower risks of T2D were observed among those with the highest, compared to lowest intakes.

Conclusions
A higher consumption of flavonoid-rich foods was associated with lower T2D risk, potentially mediated by benefits to obesity/sugar metabolism, inflammation, kidney and liver function. Achievable increases in intakes of specific flavonoid-rich foods have the potential to reduce T2D risk.


Original languageEnglish
Article number32
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition & Diabetes
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2024

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