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Diabetes is a global epidemic. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the most prevalent consequences of diabetes. Nutrition is considered a modifiable risk factor for CVD, particularly for individuals with diabetes; albeit, there is little consensus on the role of carbohydrates, proteins and fats for arterial health for persons with or without diabetes. In this study, we examined the association of macronutrients with arterial pulse pressure (APP), a surrogate measure of arterial health by diabetes status and race.


Participants were 892 Mexican Americans (MA), 1059 Black, non-Hispanics (BNH) and 2473 White, non-Hispanics (WNH) with and without diabetes of a weighted sample from the National Nutrition and Health Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2008. The cross-sectional analysis was performed with IBM-SPSS version 18 with the complex sample analysis module. The two-year sample weight for the sub-sample with laboratory values was applied to reduce bias and approximate a nationally, representative sample. Arterial stiffness was assessed by arterial pulse pressure (APP).


APP was higher for MA [B = 0.063 (95% CI 0.015 to 0.111), p = 0.013] and BNH [B = 0.044 (95% CI 0.006 to 0.082), p = 0.018] than WNH, controlling for diabetes, age, gender, body mass index (BMI), fiber intake, energy intake (Kcal) and smoking. A two-way interaction of diabetes by carbohydrate intake (grams) was inversely associated with APP [B = -1.18 (95% CI -0.178 to -0.058), p = 0.001], controlling for race, age, gender, BMI, Kcal and smoking. BNH with diabetes who consumed more mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) than WNH with diabetes had lower APP [B = -0.112 (95%CI-0.179 to -0.045), p = 0.003] adjusting for saturated fatty acids, Kcal, age, gender, BMI and smoking.


Higher MUFA and carbohydrate intake for persons with diabetes reflecting lower APP may be due to replacement of saturated fats with CHO and MUFA. The associations of APP with diabetes, race and dietary intake need to be confirmed with intervention and prospective studies. Confirmation of these results would suggest that dietary interventions for minorities with diabetes may improve arterial health.


This article was originally published in Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:126 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-126.

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