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Diabetes Metab. 2009 Apr;35(2):129-36. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2008.09.006. Epub 2009 Feb 28.

Association of macronutrient intake patterns with being overweight in a population-based random sample of men in France.

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Department of Epidemiology, Toulouse University School of Medicine, 31073 Toulouse cedex, France.



Diet is considered an important modifiable factor in the overweight. The role of macronutrients in obesity has been examined in general in selected populations, but the results of these studies are mixed, depending on the potential confounders and adjustments for other macronutrients. For this reason, we examined the association between macronutrient intake patterns and being overweight in a population-based representative sample of middle-aged (55.1+/-6.1 years) men (n=966), using various adjustment modalities.


The study subjects kept 3-day food-intake records, and the standard cardiovascular risk factors were assessed. Weight, height and waist circumference (WC) were also measured.


Carbohydrate intake was negatively associated and fat intake was positively associated with body mass index (BMI) and WC in regression models adjusted for energy intake and other factors, including age, smoking and physical activity. However, with mutual adjustments for other energy-yielding nutrients, the negative association of carbohydrate intake with WC remained significant, whereas the associations between fat intake and measures of obesity did not. Adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) comparing the highest and lowest quartiles of carbohydrate intake were 0.50 (0.25-0.97) for obesity (BMI>29.9) and 0.41 (0.23-0.73) for abdominal obesity (WC>101.9 cm).


Consistent negative associations between carbohydrate intake and BMI and WC were seen in this random representative sample of the general male population. The associations between fat intake and these measures of being overweight were attenuated on adjusting for carbohydrate intake. Thus, the balance of carbohydrate-to-fat intake is an important element in obesity in a general male population, and should be highlighted in dietary guidelines.

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