Comparing dietary macronutrient composition and food sources between native and diasporic Ghanaian adults

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BACKGROUND: Dietary acculturation may contribute to the increased burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in diasporic populations of African ancestry.

OBJECTIVE: To assess nutritional composition and the contribution that traditional foods make to the diets of native and UK-dwelling Ghanaian adults.

DESIGN: An observational study of Ghanaian adults living in Accra (n=26) and London (n=57) was undertaken. Three-day food records were translated to nutrient data using culturally sensitive methods and comparisons were made for energy, macronutrients, and dietary fibre between cohorts. The contribution of traditional foods to dietary intake was measured and the foods contributing to each nutrient were identified.

RESULTS: Compared to native Ghanaians, UK-Ghanaians derived a significantly higher proportion of energy from protein (16.9±3.9 vs. 14.1±2.8%, p=0.001), fat (29.9±7.9 vs. 24.4±8.5%, p=0.005), and saturated fat (8.5±3.4 vs. 5.8±3.7%, p<0.001) and a significantly lower energy from carbohydrate (52.2±7.7 vs. 61.5±9.3%, p<0.001). Dietary fibre intake was significantly higher in the UK-Ghanaian diet compared to the native Ghanaian diet (8.3±3.1 vs. 6.7±2.2 g/1,000 kcal, p=0.007). There was significantly less energy, macronutrients, and fibre derived from traditional foods post-migration. Non-traditional foods including breakfast cereals, wholemeal bread, and processed meats made a greater contribution to nutrient intake post-migration.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show the migrant Ghanaian diet is characterised by significantly higher intakes of fat, saturated fat, and protein and significantly lower intakes of carbohydrate; a macronutrient profile which may promote increased risk of NCDs amongst UK-Ghanaians. These differences in the nutrient profile are likely to be modulated by the consumption of 'Western' foods observed in migrant communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27790
JournalFood and Nutrition Research
Early online date24 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Diet
  • Ethnicity
  • Nutrition
  • West african


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