Healthy diet fails to offset diabetes risk for short sleepers

09 Apr 2024
Healthy diet fails to offset diabetes risk for short sleepers

A recent study suggests that adopting a healthy diet does protect against the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) among people with habitual short sleep duration, according to a study.

Researchers used data from the UK Biobank to evaluate the association of sleep duration and healthy dietary patterns with the risk of T2D.  The median follow-up was 12.5 years.

A total of 247,867 participants (mean age 55.9 years, 52.3 percent female) were identified and grouped into four, according to their sleep duration: normal (7–8 hours per day), mild short (6 hours per day), moderate short (5 hours per day), and extreme short (3–4 hours per day). Their dietary habits were assessed based on population-specific consumption of red meat, processed meat, fruits, vegetables, and fish, and a healthy diet (ranging from 0 [unhealthiest] to 5 [healthiest]) was calculated.

During the follow-up, 3.2 percent of participants received a diagnosis of T2D. Multivariable Cox regression models showed a significant increase in the risk of T2D among participants with not more than 5 hours of sleep daily versus those with normal sleep.

Specifically, the risk increase was 16-percent higher among participants in the moderate short sleep group (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.16, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.05–1.28) an 41-percent higher among those in the extreme short sleep group (aHR, 1.41, 95 percent CI, 1.19–1.68).

Meanwhile, participants with the healthiest dietary patterns had a 25-percent lower risk of T2D (aHR, 0.75, 95 percent CI, 0.63–0.88). Of note, the risk of T2D associated with short sleep duration persisted even for individuals following a healthy diet, although there was no multiplicative interaction between sleep duration and healthy diet score.

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