Higher Dietary Flavonol Intake is Associated with Lower Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes

Journal of Nutrition. 2013;143(9):1474-1480

Abstract: Substantial experimental evidence suggests that several flavonoid classes are involved in glucose metabolism, but few clinical or epidemiologic studies exist that provide supporting human evidence for this relationship. The objective of this study was to determine if habitual intakes of specific flavonoid classes are related to incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D). We followed 2915 members of the Framingham Offspring cohort who were free of T2D at baseline from 1991 to 2008. Diabetes was defined by either elevated fasting glucose (≥7.0 mmol/L) or initiation of hypoglycemic medication during follow-up. Dietary intakes of 6 flavonoid classes and total flavonoids were assessed using a validated, semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. We observed 308 incident cases of T2D during a mean follow-up period of 11.9 y (range 2.5-16.8 y). After multivariable adjusted, time-dependent analyses, which accounted for long-term flavonoid intake during follow-up, each 2.5-fold increase in flavonol intake was associated with a 26% lower incidence of T2D [HR = 0.74 (95% CI: 0.61, 0.90); P-trend = 0.003] and each 2.5-fold increase in flavan-3-ol intake was marginally associated with an 11% lower incidence of T2D [HR = 0.89 (95% CI: 0.80, 1.00); P-trend = 0.06]. No other associations between flavonoid classes and risk of T2D were observed. Our observations support previous experimental evidence of a possible beneficial relationship between increased flavonol intake and risk of T2D.

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This work was supported by the ILSI North America Committee on Bioactives.