Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile-onset diabetes, is a disorder of pancreatic beta-islet cell autoimmunity. Investigators set out to identify foods that, when consumed at an early age, could possibly be associated with advanced beta-islet cell autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes development during childhood.
Researchers identified 232 infants who were positive for betacell autoantibodies or had a clinical diagnosis for type 1 diabetes from a group of more than 6000 infants born with genetic susceptibility to diabetes. For each case, 4 random controls were chosen and matched demographically for date of birth, genetic risk, sex, and geographic area. Food diaries were kept for the children and follow-up with the subjects was as long as 11 years.
Investigators found that feeding infants fresh cow’s milk, cow’s milk-– based formulas, and fruit and berry juices at an early age is associated with diabetes onset in children already genetically predisposed to its development. Although associations are statistically very weak, they confirm observations from earlier studies.
One such earlier study explored the effects of breast-feeding and supplementary foods on beta-islet cell autoimmunity and concluded that breast-feeding was not identified as being protective against diabetes and the introduction of fruits and berries at an early age was associated with disease development.
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