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Secret to longevity, does it lie in our diet?

Reviewer : Dr. Abid

It is crucial to develop a deep understanding of how different foods and essential nutrients can impact health and disease.

As evident through many studies that intake of certain types of nutrients, dietary patterns or certain food groups positively influences health.  Greater consumption of health promoting foods and limited intake of unhealthier food options can be beneficial for our overall health, such as it can impact heart and brain health, helps in managing stress, strengthening bones, and can boost immunity thus preventing us from various disease conditions.

Moreover, healthier dietary patterns are higher in plant-based foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts and are lower in animal-based foods particularly fatty and processed meats.

Studies conducted to assess the association between dietary patterns and all-cause mortality

Recently, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee conducted a systemic review of existing research on diet and health with an objective to ascertain the association between dietary patterns consumed and all-cause mortality or ACM (death from all causes) and to inform the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

[A systemic review attempts to collect all existing evidence on a specific topic in order to answer a specific research question.]

[ Dietary patterns are the quantities, proportions, variety or combination of different foods, beverages and nutrients in diets as well as the frequency with which they are habitually consumed.]

To conduct the analysis the US Department of Agriculture’s Nutrition Evidence Systematic Review (NESR) research team searched PubMed, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Embase and dual-screened  the results to identify articles that were published between January 1, 2000, and October 4, 2019.

A total of 153 studies were included in the review. Studies enrolled adults and older adults (aged 17-84 years at baseline) from 28 countries; 53 studies originated from the US.

Results of the studies

It was observed that the results across the studies were highly consistent; it was evident that dietary patterns in adults and older adults that involved higher consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, unsaturated vegetable oil, fish and lean meat or poultry (when meat was included) were associated with decreased risk of ACM. However, these healthy patterns were relatively low in red and processed meat, high-fat dairy, and refined carbohydrates or sweets. Some of these dietary patterns also included intake of alcoholic beverages in moderation.

Conclusion of the studies

The systemic review enabled the research team to conclude that consuming a nutrient-dense dietary pattern was associated with reduced risk of death from all causes.


Evaluation of Dietary Patterns and All-Cause Mortality: A Systemic Review

Defining a Healthy Diet:Evidence for the Role of Contemporary Dietary Patterns in Health and Disease

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