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J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Feb;22(1):71-9.

Carbohydrate intake is associated with diet quality and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in U.S. adults: NHANES III.

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Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.



To determine if carbohydrate intake, as a % of energy, was related to diet quality and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adults in a cross-sectional and population-based study in the U.S.


Data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-1994) were utilized. The nationally representative sample of the U.S. population (3,754 men, 4,074 women, ages 25 to 64 years) was divided into quintiles of carbohydrate intake (% of energy), which was examined in relation to risk factors for CVD: systolic blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and concentrations of serum triglyceride, serum total and HDL cholesterol and plasma glucose.


When covariates (age, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol intake and total energy intake) were adjusted in multivariate analyses, carbohydrate intakes (% of energy) were inversely associated with BMI and serum total cholesterol concentration in men and BMI in women and positively associated with serum triglyceride concentration in women. When total sugar intake (% of energy) was further controlled as a step to understand the quality of carbohydrate, carbohydrate intakes (% of energy) was a stronger predictor of BMI and plasma glucose in men and BMI in women. A high carbohydrate diet (>57.4% of energy in men and >59.1% of energy in women) was associated with a low serum HDL-cholesterol concentration in men and high serum triglyceride in women.


Moderately high carbohydrate (50% to 55% of energy) diets were associated with low CVD risks with favorable lipid profiles.

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