BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to evaluate the ability of a low carbohydrate diet score (LCD) to predict the occurrence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components in a group of Tehrani children and adolescents after 3.6 years of follow-up.
METHODS: Diet scores were calculated using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire for participants aged 6–19 years, selected from the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study cohort. The LCD was calculated based on intake of carbohydrate, monounsaturated fatty acids, refined grains and vegetable protein intake, expressed as a percentage of energy as well as fiber, n3/n6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and glycemic load. The higher the score, the more closely the participant’s diet followed the pattern of LCD. The incidence of MetS and its components was calculated three years later.
RESULTS: The mean age of the participants was 13.8 ± 3.6 years and 45.4% were boys. The incidence rates of MetS, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL-C, abdominal obesity, and high blood glucose were 7.5%, 11%, 15%, 6.9%, 18.3%, and 12.3%, respectively. Compared to those in the lowest quartile of LCD score, after adjusting for age, sex, physical activity, and energy intake, participants in the highest quartile of LCD score had odds ratios of 0.74 (95% CI: 0.24–2.28), 1.16 (95% CI: 0.47–2.81), 0.55(95% CI: 0.21–1.44), 0.49 (95% CI: 0.11–2.08), 0.91 (95% CI: 0.42–1.98), and 1.28 (95% CI: 0.51–3.20) with the incidence of MetS, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL-C, abdominal obesity, and high blood glucose.
CONCLUSION: No association was found between LCD and the incidence of MetS or its components in children and adolescents in Tehran after 3.6 years of follow up.