Long-term intake of total energy and fat in relation to subjective cognitive decline

Tian Shin Yeh, Changzheng Yuan, Alberto Ascherio, Bernard A. Rosner, Deborah Blacker, Walter C. Willett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Diet is one of the modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline. However, human studies on total energy intake and cognitive function have remained limited and studies on fat intake and cognitive decline have been inconclusive. We aimed to examine prospectively the associations between long-term intakes of total energy and fat with subsequent subjective cognitive decline (SCD). A total of 49,493 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 27,842 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study were followed for over 20 years. Average dietary intake was calculated based on repeated food frequency questionnaires (SFFQs), and Poisson regression was used to evaluate associations. Higher total energy intake was significantly associated with greater odds of SCD in both cohorts. Comparing the highest with lowest quintiles of total energy intake, the pooled multivariable-adjusted ORs (95% CIs) for a 3-unit increment in SCD, corresponding to poor versus normal SCD, was 2.77 (2.53, 2.94). Each 500 kcal/day greater intake of total energy was associated with 48% higher odds of SCD. Intakes of both total fat and total carbohydrate appeared to contribute to the positive association between total energy intake and SCD although for the same percent of energy, the association was stronger for total fat. In conclusion, higher intakes of total energy, total fat, and total carbohydrate were adversely associated with SCD. Whether these associations are causal is unclear and deserves further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-146
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Calorie intake
  • Cognitive function
  • Cohort study
  • Fat intake
  • Subjective cognitive decline
  • Total energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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