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Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Jul;104(1):81-7. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.126136. Epub 2016 May 18.

Greater diet quality is associated with more optimal glycemic control in a longitudinal study of youth with type 1 diabetes.

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Health Behavior Branch and
Health Behavior Branch and.
Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD.



Despite the centrality of nutrition in the management of type 1 diabetes, the association of diet quality and macronutrient distribution with glycemic control is ambiguous.


This study examined longitudinally the association of dietary intake with multiple indicators of glycemic control in youth with type 1 diabetes participating in a behavioral nutrition intervention study.


Participants in a randomized clinical trial of a behavioral nutrition intervention [n = 136; mean ± SD age: 12.8 ± 2.6 y; glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c): 8.1% ± 1.0%; 69.1% using an insulin pump] completed 3-d diet records at baseline and months 3, 6, 9, 12, and 18; masked continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) data were obtained concurrently with the use of the Medtronic iPro CGM system. HbA1c was obtained every 3 mo; 1,5-anhydroglucitol was obtained every 6 mo. Linear mixed-effects regression models estimated associations of time-varying dietary intake variables with time-varying glycemic control indicators, controlling for age, height, weight, sex, Tanner stage, diabetes duration, regimen, frequency of blood glucose monitoring, physical activity, and treatment assignment.


HbA1c was associated inversely with carbohydrate and natural sugar, and positively with protein and unsaturated fat. 1,5-Anhydroglucitol was associated positively with fiber intake and natural sugar. Greater glycemic control as indicated by ≥1 CGM variable was associated with higher Healthy Eating Index-2005, whole plant food density, fiber, carbohydrate, and natural sugar and lower glycemic index and unsaturated fat.


Both overall diet quality and macronutrient distribution were associated with more optimal glycemic control. Associations were more consistent for CGM variables obtained concurrently with dietary intake than for biomarkers of longer-term glycemic control. These findings suggest that glycemic control may be improved by increasing intake of high-fiber, low glycemic-index, carbohydrate-containing foods. This trial was registered at as NCT00999375.


continuous glucose monitoring; diet quality; glycemic control; type 1 diabetes; youth

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