Associations of Dietary Flavonoids with Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, and Markers of Insulin Resistance and Systemic Inflammation in Women: A Prospective Study and Cross-Sectional Analysis

Yiqing Song, Jo Ann E. Manson, Julie E. Buring, Howard D. Sesso, Simin Liu

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260 Scopus citations


Objective: Flavonoids, as antioxidants, may prevent the progressive impairment of pancreatic β-cell function due to oxidative stress and may thus reduce the occurrence of type 2 diabetes. The aim of the present study was to examine the association of dietary flavonol and flavone intake with type 2 diabetes, and biomarkers of insulin resistance and systemic inflammation. Methods: In 38,018 women aged ≥45 y and free of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes with an average 8.8y of follow-up, we calculated relative risks (RRs) of incident type 2 diabetes (1,614 events) according to dietary intake of total or individual flavonols and flavones and flavonoid-rich foods. We also measured and examined plasma concentrations of insulin, HbA1C, CRP, and IL-6 in relation to total flavonol and flavone intake among 344 nondiabetic women. Results: During 332,905 person-years of follow-up, none of total flavonols and flavones, quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, apigenin, and luteolin was significantly associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. Among flavonoid-rich foods, apple and tea consumption was associated with diabetes risk. Women consuming ≥1 apple/d showed a significant 28% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes compared with those who consumed no apples (the multivariate-adjusted RR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.56, 0.92; p = 0.006 for trend). Tea consumption was also inversely associated with diabetes risk but with a borderline significant trend (≥4 cups/d vs. none: RR 0.73, 95% CI: 0.52–1.01; p for trend = 0.06). In 344 nondiabetic women, total intake of flavonols and flavones was not significantly related to plasma concentrations of fasting insulin, HbA1C, CRP, or IL-6. Conclusions: These results do not support the hypothesis that high intake of flavonols and flavones reduces the development of type 2 diabetes, although we cannot rule out a modest inverse association with intake of apples and tea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-384
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005



  • Flavonoids
  • Flavonols and flavones
  • Insulin resistance
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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