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The association between macronutrient intake and cognition in individuals aged under 65 in China: a cross-sectional study

09 Jan 2018


The aim of this retrospective study was to explore the correlation between daily energy intake from macronutrients and cognitive functions in a Chinese population aged less than 65 years.


This is a cross-sectional study to explore the relationships between macronutrients' intake and cognitive function. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) and 2 test were used to compare the demographic and physical characteristics, lifestyle and laboratory parameters with the intake of macronutrients among different quartiles of % fat/energy. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was applied to identify the potential risk factors of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).


Young and middle-aged participants (age <65 years) were recruited from Beijing, China. The Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA) and mini-mental state examination (MMSE) were used to evaluate the cognitive functions, and the dietary intake of the participants was estimated with a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ).


Among the 661 participants, 80 (12.1%) had MCI, while 581 (87.9%) had normal cognitive functions. On evaluating the data based on the age group, educational background, and conditions of hyperlipidaemia and total energy intake, the results revealed that high % fat (upper quartile: adjusted OR (aOR) 3.90, 95% CI1.53 to 9.89, P=0.004), and high % protein intake (upper quartile: aOR 2.77, 95% CI 1.24 to 6.15) were greatly associated with increased frequency of MCI, while high % carbohydrate intake (upper quartile: aOR0.30, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.72) was correlated with decreased prevalence of MCI.


The dietary pattern with high percentage of energy intake from fat and protein, and low-energy intake from carbohydrate might have been associated with cognitive decline in a Chinese population under 65 years of age.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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