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BMJ Publishing Group, BMJ, p. m688, 2020

DOI: 10.1136/bmj.m688



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Associations of fat and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality: prospective cohort study of UK Biobank participants

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Abstract Objective To investigate the association of macronutrient intake with all cause mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD), and the implications for dietary advice. Design Prospective population based study. Setting UK Biobank. Participants 195 658 of the 502 536 participants in UK Biobank completed at least one dietary questionnaire and were included in the analyses. Diet was assessed using Oxford WebQ, a web based 24 hour recall questionnaire, and nutrient intakes were estimated using standard methodology. Cox proportional models with penalised cubic splines were used to study non-linear associations. Main outcome measures All cause mortality and incidence of CVD. Results 4780 (2.4%) participants died over a mean 10.6 (range 9.4-13.9) years of follow-up, and 948 (0.5%) and 9776 (5.0%) experienced fatal and non-fatal CVD events, respectively, over a mean 9.7 (range 8.5-13.0) years of follow-up. Non-linear associations were found for many macronutrients. Carbohydrate intake showed a non-linear association with mortality; no association at 20-50% of total energy intake but a positive association at 50-70% of energy intake (3.14 v 2.75 per 1000 person years, average hazard ratio 1.14, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.28 (60-70% v 50% of energy)). A similar pattern was observed for sugar but not for starch or fibre. A higher intake of monounsaturated fat (2.94 v 3.50 per 1000 person years, average hazard ratio 0.58, 0.51 to 0.66 (20-25% v 5% of energy)) and lower intake of polyunsaturated fat (2.66 v 3.04 per 1000 person years, 0.78, 0.75 to 0.81 (5-7% v 12% of energy)) and saturated fat (2.66 v 3.59 per 1000 person years, 0.67, 0.62 to 0.73 (5-10% v 20% of energy)) were associated with a lower risk of mortality. A dietary risk matrix was developed to illustrate how dietary advice can be given based on current intake. Conclusion Many associations between macronutrient intake and health outcomes are non-linear. Thus dietary advice could be tailored to current intake. Dietary guidelines on macronutrients (eg, carbohydrate) should also take account of differential associations of its components (eg, sugar and starch).