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Associations of food groups and cardiometabolic and inflammatory biomarkers - Does the meal matter?

  • Carolina Schwedhelm
  • Lukas Schwingshackl
  • George O. Agogo
  • Emily Sonestedt
  • Heiner Boeing
  • Sven Knüppel
Publishing year: 2019
Language: English
Pages: 707-716
Publication/Series: British Journal of Nutrition
Volume: 122
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Abstract english

Increased attention has been paid to circadian patterns and how predisposition to metabolic disorders can be affected by meal timing. Currently, it is not clear which role can be attributed to the foods selected at meals. On a cross-sectional sub-cohort study (815 adults) within the EPIC-Potsdam study we investigated whether the same foods (vegetables, fruits, refined grains, whole grains, red and processed meats) eaten at different meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) show different associations with biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk. Meal-specific usual intakes were calculated from multiple 24h dietary recalls. Multivariable-adjusted linear regression models showed that intake of vegetables at breakfast was associated with lower LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) (-0.37 mmol/l per 50g; 95%CI: -0.61 to -0.12) and vegetables at dinner was associated with higher HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) (0.05 mmol/l per 50g; 95%CI: 0 to 0.10). Fruit intake at breakfast was associated with lower glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) (-0.06% per 50g; 95%CI: -0.10 to -0.01) and fruits at dinner with lower CRP (-0.21 mg/l per 50g; 95%CI: -0.42 to -0.01). Red and processed meat intake at breakfast was associated with higher HbA1c (0.25% per 50g; 95%CI: 0.05 to 0.46) and CRP (0.76 mg/l per 50g; 95%CI: 0.15 to 1.36). Our results suggest that by preferring fruits and vegetables and avoiding red and processed meats at specific meals (i.e., breakfast and dinner), cardiometabolic profiles and ultimately chronic disease risk could be improved. Lunch seemed to be a less important meal in terms of food-biomarker associations.


  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
  • breakfast
  • cardiometabolic biomarkers
  • chrono-nutrition
  • dinner
  • fruits and vegetables
  • lunch
  • meals
  • red and processed meat
  • refined grains
  • whole grains


  • Nutrition Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
Emily Sonestedt
E-mail: emily [dot] sonestedt [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Associate senior lecturer

Nutrition Epidemiology

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