A new study has found a link between nitrate intake from drinking water and diet and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Nitrates and nitrites occur naturally in water and soil and are used as preservatives in foods to extend shelf life. The study was conducted by Bernard Srur and was published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Some public health officials have recommended limiting nitrites and nitrites as food additives, but their effects on metabolic issues and type 2 diabetes in humans have not been studied. To study the relationship, researchers used data from 104,168 participants in the NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort.
The NutriNet-Santé study is an ongoing web-based research study launched in 2009. Participants fifteen and older are enrolled voluntarily and provide medical history, sociodemographics, diet, lifestyle, and major health improvements. The researchers used detailed nitrite/nitrite exposure from multiple databases and sources and then developed statistical models to analyze self-reported dietary data with health outcomes.
The researchers found that participants in the NutriNet-Santé group had higher intakes of nitrates, particularly from dietary supplements and non-supplementary sources, at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. There is no link between nitrates and the risk of type 2 diabetes, and the findings do not provide any benefit for dietary nitrates or nitrites in terms of type 2 diabetes prevention.
The study had several limitations and further research is needed to confirm the results. The data were self-reported and the researchers were unable to confirm specific nitrite/nitrate exposure using biomarkers due to biological challenges. Additionally, the demographics and characteristics of people in a group may not be generalizable to the rest of the population—the group includes many young individuals, often women, who exhibit healthy behaviors. Residual confounding due to the observational design of the study may have influenced the results.
According to the authors, “These results provide new evidence in the context of current discussions regarding the need to reduce the use of nitrate additives in processed meats in the food industry and may support the need for better control of soil contamination.” Fertilizers. Meanwhile, many public health authorities around the world recommend that citizens limit their consumption of foods containing controversial additives, including sodium nitrate.
Srour and Touvier added, “This is the first large-scale study to identify an association between supplement-derived nitrates and type-2 diabetes risk.” It also confirms previously suggested associations between total dietary nitrates and T2D risk.
Reference: “Dietary exposure to nitrates and nitrates in association with risk of type 2 diabetes: results from the NutriNet-Santé population-based cohort study” by Bernard Srouer, Eloy Chazelas, Nathalie Drusne-Pekolo, Yunus Esedik, Fabien Szabo de Edelenyi, Cédric Agasse, Alexander Dessa, Rebecca Lucia, Charlotte Debras, Laurie Salem, Inge Huybrecht, Chantal Julia, Emmanuelle Casey-Guyot, Benjamin Alles, Pilar Galan, Serge Hercberg, Fabrice Pierre, Melanie Deschasaux-Tanguy, and Mathilde Touvier, 13 January 20 PLOS Medicine.