Pro-Inflammatory Diet and High Salt Intake Linked to Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

by Ella

A recent study published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism highlights the elevated risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) associated with following a pro-inflammatory diet and consuming high levels of salt. Led by Wenqui Shen, MD, from the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Shanghai Ninth People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, the study sheds light on the importance of dietary choices in preventing the onset of T2D.


The study involved 171,094 participants from the UK Biobank, with a mean age of 55.98 years and 40.7% men. These individuals were initially free of diabetes and had completed at least one dietary recall questionnaire. They were followed up for a median period of 13.5 years.


Researchers assessed the participants’ dietary habits using the dietary inflammatory index (DII), a scoring system that measures the inflammatory potential of an individual’s diet. Salt intake was evaluated based on self-reported frequency of adding salt to foods.


Newly diagnosed cases of T2D were recorded as the primary health outcomes.


Key Findings:

Over the median follow-up period, 6216 participants developed T2D.


Individuals following a pro-inflammatory diet were found to have an 18% higher risk of developing T2D compared to those adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet.

For each one-point increase in the energy-adjusted DII, the risk of T2D increased by 4%.

The risk of T2D escalated with higher levels of habitual salt intake. Participants who added salt to foods always had a 30% higher risk of developing T2D compared to those who never or rarely added salt.

Moreover, the combination of a pro-inflammatory diet and high salt intake further heightened the risk of T2D.

In Practice:

The study authors emphasized the importance of promoting an anti-inflammatory diet and reducing salt intake to mitigate the risk of T2D.

According to the authors, “Our findings indicate that a pro-inflammatory diet and higher habitual salt intake were associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. These results support the public health promotion of an anti-inflammatory diet and reducing salt intake to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.”


The study utilized data from a 24-hour dietary recall questionnaire to calculate the energy-adjusted DII, which may have introduced reporting inaccuracies.

Certain components of the DII score were not measured in this study.

Unmeasured variables and residual confounders might have influenced the results.


The study received support from various sources, including the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality.

The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

This research underscores the significance of dietary factors in T2D prevention and highlights the need for further investigation into the role of inflammation and salt intake in metabolic health.



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