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Forschung • Beta-carotene status differs in women with different dietary regimens

Hoffmann I1, 2, Koebnick C3, Bub A2, Heuer T1, Strassner C1, Groeneveld MJ1, Leitzmann C1

1Institute of Nutritional Science, Giessen University, Wilhelmstr. 20, 35392 Giessen, Germany;
2
Federal Research Centre for Nutrition, Karlsruhe, Germany;
3
Department of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany;

Poster auf dem 17th Interational Congress of Nutrition, Wien, Österreich, 2001
Annals of Nutrition an Metabolism, 45 (1), 263, 2001

Abstract

A high consumption of foods rich in β-carotene is recommended for the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease. To investigate the blood β-carotene levels of women habitually following different dietary regimens, three groups of healthy women, aged 25-65, were compared:

  • I. control group (average western diet, n=172)  
  • II. wholesome nutrition group (preventive, plant-centred diet, n=238)
  • III. raw food dieters (proportion of raw food 70-100%, n=104)

A general linear model was performed, controlling for BMI, age, smoking, intake of oral contraceptives and β-carotene supplements, consumption of alcohol and a further model with additional adjustment for intake of β-carotene.

The β-carotene intake of the raw food dieters significantly exceeded that of the wholesome nutrition group and the latter of the control group (median: 13.2, 8.6, 4.9 mg/d, resp.). Controlling for the confounders, an association between diet and β-carotene levels could be shown (p<0.001). However, the blood levels did not reflect the intake, since the wholesome nutrition group had significantly higher blood levels than the raw food dieters and the control group (adjusted means: 1.18, 0.83, 0.77 µmol/L, resp.; both p<0.001), with no difference between the other two groups. The additional adjustment for β-carotene intake shows that the women adhering to a preventive, plant-centred diet with an intake of up to 4 mg/d already reached very high levels, for which women consuming a raw food diet or a western diet needed higher intakes of β-carotene (p<0.001). A significant effect of single factors could only be shown for consumption of (heated) vegetables, intake of β-carotene and of dietary fibre.

The observed effect of a dietary regimen is probably the result of the sum of various effects. However, they may be too small to be statistically significant or they may perhaps only act in combination. Therefore, not the intake of a certain amount of β-carotene but an overall healthy diet should be encouraged.

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