Rheumatology International

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 533–539 | Cite as

Diet and alcohol as risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis: a nested case–control study

  • B. SundströmEmail author
  • I. Johansson
  • S. Rantapää-Dahlqvist
Original Article - Observational Research


The aim of this study was to investigate whether alcohol and diet, assessed as both macronutrients and dietary patterns, increased the risk of development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) through a nested case–control design in the Västerbotten Intervention Program (VIP) cohort. Individuals in the VIP who had developed RA after the dietary survey were identified from medical records at the department of rheumatology at the University Hospital, Umeå (n = 386), and matched to 1,886 controls from the same database. Diet was assessed as food groups, as macronutrients and as scores of dietary patterns, namely the carbohydrate-restricted diet score, the Mediterranean diet score and the healthy diet indicator score. When analysing the dietary patterns, consumption of food groups and different macronutrients, a significant association was found in the highest tertile of carbohydrate-restricted diet among the cases with a subsequent anti-CCP-positive disease 1.40 (1.02–1.92), as well as in the highest tertile of protein consumption among smokers (OR = 1.80, 95 % CI 1.09–2.95). However, after additional adjustment for sodium intake, these associations were no longer statistically significant. No association was observed between alcohol consumption and the risk of RA. To summarize, there were no significant associations between diet, or alcohol consumption, and the risk of development of RA within this cohort. The lack of any significant associations of alcohol consumption may be explained by a low consumption in the studied population overall or alternatively by methodological issues raised recently.


Rheumatoid arthritis Epidemiology Alcohol Diet 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

296_2014_3185_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)
296_2014_3185_MOESM2_ESM.docx (25 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Sundström
    • 1
    Email author
  • I. Johansson
    • 2
  • S. Rantapää-Dahlqvist
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, RheumatologyUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of Odontology, CariologyUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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