Development of a Healthy Eating Index for patients with type 2 diabetes

Desenvolvimento de um Índice de Alimentação Saudável para pacientes com diabetes tipo 2

Juliana Peçanha ANTONIO Flávia Moraes SILVA Suzi Alves CAMEY Mirela Jobim de AZEVEDO Jussara Carnevale de ALMEIDA About the authors


This study sought to develop a dietary index for assessment of diet quality aiming for compliance with dietary recommendations for diabetes: The Diabetes Healthy Eating Index.


Cross-sectional study with 201 outpatients with type 2 diabetes (61.4±9.7 years of age; 72.1% were overweight; 12.1±7.7 years of diagnosis; 7.3±1.3% mean HbA1c). Clinical and laboratory evaluations were performed together with 3-day weight diet records. The dietary index developed included 10 components: "diet variety", "fresh fruits", "vegetables", "carbohydrates and fiber sources", "meats and eggs", "dairy products and saturated fatty acids", "oils and fats", "total lipids", "cholesterol", and "transunsaturated fatty acids". The performance of each component was evaluated using the Item Response Theory, and diet quality was scored from 0-100%.


Overall, diet quality in this sample was 39.8±14.3% (95%CI=37.8-41.8%), and only 55 patients had a total diet quality score >50%. Good compliance was observed in only four index components: "total lipids", "variety", "fiber sources", and "dairy and saturated fatty acids". The components that differentiated patients with poor dietary quality from those with good dietary quality were "vegetables", "diet variety", "dairy and saturated fatty acids" and "total lipids". The greatest determinants of dietary quality were the components "diet variety", "vegetables", and "total lipids".


This dietary index proposed assesses diet quality in compliance with the specific nutritional recommendations for diabetes. In clinical practice, this novel index may be a useful tool for the assessment and management of diet of patients with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Mellitus Type 2; Diet; Food consumption

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