Poster Topical Area: Energy and Macronutrient Metabolism

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 540

P10-141 - Grain fortification with vitamins and iron may be a major cause of the prevalence of obesity and diabetes in US

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Objective: The United States is the first country to initiate grain fortification with fat synthesis-promoting B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin and niacin) and iron in the late 1930s and interestingly, it is also the first country to experience obesity and diabetes epidemic, especially in its southern states, where grain fortification is mandatory. However, whether grain fortification may play a causal role in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes remains to be determined. The objective of this study is to investigate grain fortification may play a causal role in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes.


Methods: The present study investigates the relationship between grain fortification and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes by Pearson's correlation analysis. The per capita nutrient consumption data during 1909-2010 are from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS), and the obesity and diabetes prevalence data are from and Center for Disease Control (CDC) during 1958-2015.


Results: Grain fortification has increased the levels of per capita consumption of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron from about 1.4, 1.9, 17, 12.5 mg/d at the early 1930s to a peak value 3.1, 3.2, 35, 25.1 mg/d at the early 2000s, respectively. The increased consumption of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron is accompanied by about 30% increase in US per capita calorie consumption (from 3250 kcal/d in the 1930s to 4200 kcal/d in the early 2000). The prevalence of both obesity and diabetes is strongly correlated with the increased US per capita consumption of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron, with a time lag of about 10 years and 23 years, respectively (All Pearson correlation coefficient r > 0.91).


Conclusions: Given that our previous studies have shown that excess nicotinamide (a niacin form most commonly used in grain fortification) may increase ROS level, cause insulin resistance, and alter the body weight in rat and human. We therefore think that grain fortification with vitamins and iron may be a major cause of increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes in US.




Funding Source: National Natural Science Foundation of China

CoAuthors: Nana Chen – Medical School of Nagoya University; Da Li – Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University; Wuping Sun – The Affiliated Nanshan People's Hospital of Shenzhen University; Shi-Sheng Zhou – Medical School of Dalian University

Yiming Zhou


Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital/Broad Institute
Boston, Massachusetts