To evaluate associations between a broad range of approaches to classifying diet and incident type 2 diabetes in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study.


This study included 8,750 Black and White adults without diabetes at baseline. Diabetes was defined according to fasting glucose ≥70 mmol/L, random glucose ≥111 mmol/L, or use of diabetes medications. The exposures were diet scores for Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND), dietary inflammatory index (DII), dietary inflammation score (DIS), and empirical dietary patterns (plant-based and Southern) determined using data collected with use of the Block98 food-frequency questionnaire. Modified Poisson regression was used to assess association of dietary measures with risk of incident type 2 diabetes, with models adjusted for total energy intake, demographics, lifestyle factors, and waist circumference.


There were 1,026 cases of incident type 2 diabetes during follow-up (11.7%). Adherence to the Southern dietary pattern was most strongly associated with risk of incident type 2 diabetes after adjustment for demographics and lifestyle (quintile [Q]5 vs. lowest Q1: risk ratio [RR] 1.95; 95% CI 1.57, 2.41). Of the diet scores, DIS (Q5 vs. Q1 RR 1.41) and MIND (Q1 vs. Q5 RR 1.33), demonstrated anti-inflammatory diets, had strongest associations with lower diabetes incidence.


We found associations of several dietary approaches with incident type 2 diabetes. Investigation into mechanisms driving the association with the Southern dietary pattern is warranted. Further research into use of DIS, DII, and MIND diet score should be considered for dietary recommendations for diabetes prevention.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.20642556.

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