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Macronutrient and alcohol intake is associated with intermuscular adipose tissue in a randomly selected group of younger and older men and women

Journal article
Authors Kajsa Sjöholm
Lena Gripeteg
Ingrid Larsson
Published in e - SPEN: the European e-journal of clinical nutrition and metabolism
Volume 13
Pages e46-e51
ISSN 1751-4991
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages e46-e51
Language en
Keywords Alcohol; Anthropometry; Diet; IMAT; Intermuscular adipose tissue
Subject categories Nutrition and Dietetics


Background Alcohol and macronutrient intake have been found to be related to general and central body fat distribution. Intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT) is a small ectopic fat depot located within the muscle bundles. IMAT is important for muscle function, mobility and energy homeostasis and also associated with cardiovascular- and diabetes-related risk factors. Aim To test the hypothesis that macronutrient and alcohol intake is associated with IMAT. Methods 50 men and 50 women, randomly selected from the general population formed height- and weight-representative age groups of 50 younger (27–31 years) and 50 older (57–61 years) subjects. A dietary questionnaire was used to estimate habitual intake of foods and beverages. Body composition including IMAT was measured with computed tomography. Results Energy percent (E%) carbohydrates were negatively associated with IMAT in men (β: −0.6234, P < 0.05) and in younger subjects (β: −0.792, P < 0.05). E% alcohol was positively associated with IMAT in women (β: 2.3663, P < 0.01) and in older subjects (β: 1.232, P < 0.01). In younger individuals, E% protein was positively associated with IMAT (β: 1.840, P < 0.05). Centralized and general body fat distributions were positively associated with IMAT. S- (serum) cholesterol was positively associated with IMAT in men (β: 0.05177, P < 0.01) and younger individuals (β: 0.06701, P < 0.01). Conclusions These cross-sectional analyses showed associations between measures of body fat distribution and IMAT as well as associations between macronutrient- and alcohol intake and IMAT. Since IMAT is situated within the energy demanding striated muscles, our data could suggest that changes in dietary energy intake and macronutrient distribution may induce changes in IMAT in both normal weight and obese subjects.

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