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Ulrika Ericson

Ulrika Ericson

Associate professor

Ulrika Ericson

A healthy dietary metabolic signature is associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease


  • Einar Smith
  • Ulrika Ericson
  • Sophie Hellstrand
  • Marju Orho-Melander
  • Peter M. Nilsson
  • Céline Fernandez
  • Olle Melander
  • Filip Ottosson

Summary, in English

Background: The global burden of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes could be decreased by improving dietary factors, but identification of groups suitable for interventional approaches can be difficult. Reporting of dietary intake is prone to errors, and measuring of metabolites has shown promise in determining habitual dietary intake. Our aim is to create a metabolic signature that is associated with healthy eating and test if it associates with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease risk. Methods: Using plasma metabolite data consisting of 111 metabolites, partial least square (PLS) regression was used to identify a metabolic signature associated with a health conscious food pattern in the Malmö Offspring Study (MOS, n = 1538). The metabolic signature’s association with dietary intake was validated in the Malmö Diet and Cancer study (MDC, n = 2521). The associations between the diet-associated metabolic signature and incident type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD) were tested using Cox regression in MDC and logistic regression in Malmö Preventive Project (MPP, n = 1083). Modelling was conducted unadjusted (model 1), adjusted for potential confounders (model 2) and additionally for potential mediators (model 3). Results: The metabolic signature was associated with lower risk for type 2 diabetes in both MDC (hazard ratio: 0.58, 95% CI 0.52–0.66, per 1 SD increment of the metabolic signature) and MPP (odds ratio: 0.54, 95% CI 0.44–0.65 per 1 SD increment of the metabolic signature) in model 2. The results were attenuated but remained significant in model 3 in both MDC (hazard ratio 0.73, 95% CI 0.63–0.83) and MPP (odds ratio 0.70, 95% CI 0.55–0.88). The diet-associated metabolic signature was also inversely associated with lower risk of CAD in both MDC and MPP in model 1, but the association was non-significant in model 3. Conclusions: In this proof-of-concept study, we identified a healthy diet-associated metabolic signature, which was inversely associated with future risk for type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease in two different cohorts. The association with diabetes was independent of traditional risk factors and might illustrate an effect of health conscious dietary intake on cardiometabolic health.


  • Cardiovascular Research - Hypertension
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • Diabetes - Cardiovascular Disease
  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health
  • Internal Medicine - Epidemiology

Publishing year





BMC Medicine





Document type

Journal article


BioMed Central (BMC)


  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Dietary biomarker
  • Metabolomics
  • Nutrition
  • Type 2 diabetes



Research group

  • Cardiovascular Research - Hypertension
  • Diabetes - Cardiovascular Disease
  • Internal Medicine - Epidemiology


  • ISSN: 1741-7015