Diet, physical, and biochemical characteristics of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes: relationship between dietary fat and glucose control

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Abstract

Background:

Nutritional habits may significantly influence glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Aims:

To assess dietary intake, cardiovascular risk factors, and the association between diet composition and glycemic control in Italian youth with T1D.

Methods:

Subjects included 114 youth aged 6–16 yr with T1D receiving a routine treatment program with nutrition counseling and 448 controls. Cross-sectional measures included dietary intake, anthropometry, blood pressure, lipid profile, and, in children with diabetes, HbA1c.

Results:

In prepubertal children, BMI, subcutaneous skinfolds, the prevalence of overweight/obesity, and LDL cholesterol (LDL-CH) were significantly lower in patients than in controls, whereas HDL cholesterol (HDL-CH) was higher. Pubertal boys with T1D did not differ significantly from controls in either anthropometry or lipid profile. Pubertal girls with T1D had a higher BMI and higher triceps skinfolds than controls but not significantly different prevalence of overweight/obesity or lipid profile. Compared to controls, participants with T1D had a lower intake of lipids and simple carbohydrates, a higher ratio of unsaturated/saturated fats and fibre, and a dietary intake closer to the National Reference Dietary Intakes (RDIs). The odds of having an HbA1c higher than 7.5, adjusted for BMI, lipid, and fibre intake, increases by 53% for every 1% increase of energy intake from saturated fat in the diet and by 30% for every year of duration of diabetes.

Conclusions:

Youth with T1D having regular nutritional counseling had a diet closer to RDIs than controls and not different cardiovascular risk factors. High saturated fatty acid intake was associated with poor blood glucose control.

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