Pasta meal intake in relation to risks of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women: Findings from the Women's Health Initiative

Mengna Huang, Kenneth Lo, Jie Li, Matthew Allison, Wen Chih Wu, Simin Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective To evaluate the association between pasta meal intake and long-term risk of developing diabetes or atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD, including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke) in postmenopausal women. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting Women's Health Initiative (WHI) in the USA. Participants 84 555 postmenopausal women aged 50-79 in 1994, who were free of diabetes, ASCVD and cancer at baseline who were not in the dietary modification trial of the WHI, completed a validated food frequency questionnaire, and were evaluated for incident diabetes and ASCVD outcomes during the follow-up until 2010. Main outcome measure Diabetes and ASCVD. Results Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the association (HR) between quartiles of pasta meal consumption (residuals after adjusting for total energy) and the risk of incidence diabetes, CHD, stroke or ASCVD, accounting for potential confounding factors, with testing for linear trend. We then statistically evaluated the effect of substituting white bread or fried potato for pasta meal on disease risk. When comparing the highest to the lowest quartiles of residual pasta meal intake, we observed significantly reduced risk of ASCVD (HR=0.89, 95% CI 0.83 to 0.96, p trend=0.002), stroke (HR=0.84, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.93, p trend=0.001), CHD (HR=0.91, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.00, p trend=0.058) and no significant alteration in diabetes risk (HR=1.02, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.07, p trend=0.328). Replacing white bread or fried potato with pasta meal was statistically associated with decreased risk of stroke and ASCVD. Conclusions Pasta meal intake did not have adverse effects on long-term diabetes risk and may be associated with significant reduced risk of stroke and ASCVD. The potential benefit of substituting pasta meal for other commonly consumed starchy foods on cardiometabolic outcomes warrants further investigation in additional high-quality and large prospective studies of diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • diabetes mellitus
  • nutrition assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this