Background: The incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is rising rapidly in Malaysia. Modifying dietary intake is key to both the prevention and treatment of T2DM. This study aims to investigate the pattern of macronutrient intake among T2DM patients in Malaysia.
Methods: This study was carried out on adults aged between 35 and 70 years, residing in urban and rural Malaysian communities. A series of standardised questionnaires was used to assess the sociodemographic information, dietary intake and physical activity level of 15,353 respondents who provided informed consent to participate in this study. Blood sampling (finger prick test) and physical examination were performed to obtain blood glucose and anthropometric data, respectively. The Chi-square test was used to assess differences in the trends of macronutrient intake among T2DM groups.
Results: The total number of participants diagnosed with T2DM in this study was 2,254. Of these, 453 (20.1%) were newly diagnosed, 1,156 (51.3%) were diagnosed for ≤ 5 years and 645 (28.6%) were diagnosed for > 5 years. The majority of the T2DM patients consumed carbohydrate and protein in the recommended proportions. Compliance with the recommended carbohydrate intake (50–65% of Total Energy Intake (TEI)) was 19.1%, 52.2% and 28.7% among the newly diagnosed, diagnosed for ≤ 5 years and diagnosed for > 5 years groups, respectively. Compliance with the recommended protein intake (10–20% of TEI) among these groups was 20.5%, 51.9% and 27.6%, respectively. Although the differences among groups were not significant, the majority of the T2DM patients consumed fat in amounts higher than the recommended proportion (> 30% of TEI).
Conclusions: The pattern of dietary intake among T2DM patients in this study showed moderate consumption of carbohydrate and protein, coupled with high fat intake. Compliance with the Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) was satisfactory for both carbohydrate and protein but not for fat. The pattern indicated a preference for fat rather than protein when carbohydrate intake was restricted. Further research regarding the specific types of carbohydrate, protein and fat consumed is necessary to understand the effect of these macronutrients on T2DM in Malaysia. The high proportion of newly diagnosed T2DM patients (20.1%) in this study indicates that there is a lack of awareness among the general population regarding T2DM.