There is a lot of diet advice out there, but the science that connects food and health it is not always clear. A new study on the subject is one of the most comprehensive to date and has identified four eating patterns associated with lower mortality risk.
Analyzing the eating patterns of 119,315 people over the age of 36, researchers compared those patterns to four sets of popular healthy diet regimens: the Healthy Eating Index, the Alternative Mediterranean Diet, the Plant-Based Healthy Eating Index, and the Alternative Diet Index. Healthy Food.
Adhering to at least one of these models reduces the risk of premature death from any cause and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and respiratory diseases, the study showed. While diets vary, they all include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
This matches the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), researchers note – guidelines that recommend multiple healthy eating patterns to suit individual preferences, cultures and health needs and provide a wealth of advice on eating in a way that does not harm our bodies.
“The Dietary Guidelines for Americans aim to provide science-based dietary advice that promotes good health and reduces major chronic diseases.” says Frank Hua nutritional epidemiologist from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Massachusetts.
“Thus, it is critical to examine associations between dietary patterns recommended by the DGA and long-term health outcomes, particularly mortality.”
of Healthy Eating Index, for example, provides recommended amounts in all major food groups, including fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. of Alternative Mediterranean diet the score is comprehensive, taking in data on fruit, fish, nuts, alcohol and more.
Then there is Healthy Plant-Based Diet Indexwhich ranks healthy plant-based foods (such as vegetables and whole grains) versus unhealthy plant-based foods (such as refined grains and high-sugar foods) and animal-based foods.
Finally, Alternative Health Food Index takes on everything from vegetables to sugary drinks, mostly how it relates to chronic disease.
According to the results from this latest study, it’s a great idea to start following at least one of these approaches.
“It is important to assess adherence to DGA-recommended eating patterns and health outcomes, including mortality, so that timely updates can be made.” says Hu.
While the research can’t definitively say that these specific dietary habits are causing longer life — and relies on self-reported data rather than anything scientifically recorded — the link is clear enough to demonstrate the health benefits of the diet. good.
As noted by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 6 in 10 adults in the US live with at least one chronic disease related to their diet. Meanwhile, compliance with these guidelines has not improved much in recent years.
There is no shortage of studies looking at diet and health, although recommendations can vary depending on age and build. Legumes, grains and vegetables are is often recommendedwhile fish, eggs and milk are usually the best eaten in moderationaccording to experts.
What is clear is how important it is to commit to a healthy diet throughout our lives if we want those lives to last as long as possible. This is part of the work on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will be updated in the near future.
“Our findings will be valuable to the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which is being formed to assess current evidence related to different eating patterns and health outcomes.” says Hu.
The research was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.