Eating Frequency and Carbohydrate Intake in Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Differ from Those in Their Peers and are Associated with Glycemic Control
received 29 March 2017
revised 27 June 2017
accepted 27 June 2017
11 September 2017 (eFirst)
Aim The diet of people with type 1 diabetes may differ from that of healthy peers due to disease-related factors that may affect the course of diabetes. This cross-sectional study sought to compare meal and snacking frequency and corresponding carbohydrate intake among adolescents with intensively-treated type 1 diabetes and healthy peers and to analyze their association with glycemic control among diabetes patients.
Methods Nutritional data of 712 11- to <19-year-olds from a nationwide population-based survey on early-onset type 1 diabetes (52.7% boys/men, mean age 15.6 years) were compared with 949 food records of 296 healthy participants in the DONALD cohort study (49.7% boys, mean age 14.4 years) using linear mixed models. Furthermore, the association between eating frequency and/or carbohydrate intake with glycemic control (HbA1c) was analyzed with multiple linear regression models.
Results After comprehensive adjustment, diabetes patients had, on average, 4.6 [95% confidence interval 3.6, 5.5] more meals or snacks/week but consumed 75.9 [64.5, 87.3] fewer grams of carbohydrates/day than the comparison group. Diabetes subjects also consumed breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks more frequently but ate fewer carbohydrates at all eating occasions. Total carbohydrate intake and carbohydrate intake at breakfast were associated with higher HbA1c levels, while increased breakfast frequency was associated with lower HbA1c levels.
Conclusion Eating frequency and carbohydrate intake differed between adolescents with early-onset type 1 diabetes and non-diabetic peers. The observed associations with glycemic control challenge the concept of a completely unregulated eating frequency and carbohydrate intake for people on intensified insulin therapy.