Yonsei Med J.  2018 Sep;59(7):834-842. 10.3349/ymj.2018.59.7.834.

High-Carbohydrate Diets and Food Patterns and Their Associations with Metabolic Disease in the Korean Population

  • 1Major of Food Science and Nutrition, School of Human Ecology, The Catholic University of Korea, Bucheon, Korea. yjsong@catholic.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Food and Nutrition, Hannam University, Daejeon, Korea.


Although an Asian diet is typically high in carbohydrate and low in fat, there has been a steady increase in the rate of cardiometabolic disease in Asian countries over the past decade. We evaluated food patterns of a high-carbohydrate diet and examined their associations with metabolic disease.
Using data from the 2013-2015 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we included a total of 13106 subjects aged 20 years or older in this study. Diet was divided into seven groups according to the percentage of energy from carbohydrates. Food patterns were evaluated as individual servings per food group. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to estimate odds ratios (OR) for metabolic disease.
The proportions of men and women exceeding the recommended range of carbohydrate intake were 58.0% and 60.0%, respectively. A higher carbohydrate diet was associated with intake of low energy and saturated fats, with more grains and fruit, but less meat, fish, egg, bean (MFEB), and dairy consumption. Carbohydrate intake decreased by 3.0-3.4% per serving of MFEB and milk. In men, the highest carbohydrate group showed an OR of 1.35 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.91 to 1.99] for metabolic syndrome, although this failed to show statistical significance. In women, the highest carbohydrate group had an OR of 1.38 (95% CI, 1.06 to 1.80) for a reduced level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
This study suggests that a very-high-carbohydrate diet for the Korean population is attributable to lower consumption of MFEB and dairy products and is associated with several metabolic risk factors. The appropriate distribution of macronutrients for the prevention and management of metabolic disease should be explored.


High-carbohydrate diet; food pattern; metabolic syndrome; type 2 diabetes; dyslipidemia; Korean

MeSH Terms

Asian Continental Ancestry Group
Dairy Products
Logistic Models
Metabolic Diseases*
Nutrition Surveys
Odds Ratio
Risk Factors


  • Fig. 1 Distribution of dietary carbohydrate intake according to sex.

  • Fig. 2 Food group consumption (percentage of recommended servings) according to dietary carbohydrate intake based on the Korean Food Guidance System. % servings=the number of servings consumed/the recommended number of servings×100. MFEB, meat, fish, eggs, and beans.

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