Adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of diabetic kidney disease among individuals with hyperglycemia: a prospective cohort study

Changbo Qu, Jinyu Zhao, Jicai Lai, Xinxiang Wu, Peng Huang, Ting Zhu, Yan Li, Taoli Liu, Jinqiu Yuan, Ning Wang, Maikel P. Peppelenbosch, Hongda Chen, Bin Xia, Jian Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes is associated with a variety of complications, including micro- and macrovascular complications, neurological manifestations and poor wound healing. Adhering to a Mediterranean Diet (MED) is generally considered an effective intervention in individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, little is known about its effect with respect to the different specific manifestations of T2DM. This prompted us to explore the effect of MED on the three most significant microvascular complications of T2DM: diabetic retinopathy (DR), diabetic kidney disease (DKD), and vascular diabetic neuropathies (DN). METHODS: We examined the association between the MED and the incidence of these microvascular complications in a prospective cohort of 33,441 participants with hyperglycemia free of microvascular complications at baseline, identified in the UK Biobank. For each individual, we calculated the Alternate Mediterranean Diet (AMED) score, which yields a semi-continuous measure of the extent to which an individual's diet can be considered as MED. We used Cox proportional hazard models to analyze hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusting for demographics, lifestyle factors, medical histories and cardiovascular risk factors. RESULTS: Over a median of 12.3 years of follow-up, 3,392 cases of microvascular complications occurred, including 1,084 cases of diabetic retinopathy (DR), 2,184 cases of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), and 632 cases of diabetic neuropathies (DN), with some patients having 2 or 3 microvascular complications simultaneously. After adjusting for confounders, we observed that higher AMED scores offer protection against DKD among participants with hyperglycemia (comparing the highest AMED scores to the lowest yielded an HR of 0.79 [95% CIs: 0.67, 0.94]). Additionally, the protective effect of AMED against DKD was more evident in the hyperglycemic participants with T2DM (HR, 0.64; 95% CI: 0.50, 0.83). No such effect, however, was seen for DR or DN. CONCLUSIONS: In this prospective cohort study, we have demonstrated that higher adherence to a MED is associated with a reduced risk of DKD among individuals with hyperglycemia. Our study emphasizes the necessity for continued research focusing on the benefits of the MED. Such efforts including the ongoing clinical trial will offer further insights into the role of MED in the clinical management of DKD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number224
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


Dive into the research topics of 'Adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of diabetic kidney disease among individuals with hyperglycemia: a prospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this