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Global Diet Study Challenges Advice To Limit High-Fat Dairy Foods

The study examined the relationships between a new diet score and health outcomes in a global population and a healthy diet score was created based on six foods that have each been linked with longevity

Global Diet Study Challenges Advice To Limit High-Fat Dairy Foods
The study was published in the European Heart Journal, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC)

Los Angeles: According to a study conducted in 80 countries across all inhabited continents, unprocessed red meat and whole grains can be included or excluded from a healthy diet. Fruit, vegetable, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and fish-rich diets have been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and premature death in all world regions. The inclusion of unprocessed red meat or whole grains had little effect on the results. The study was published in the European Heart Journal, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Study author Dr Andrew Mente of the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, said,

Low-fat foods have taken centre stage with the public, food industry and policymakers, with nutrition labels focused on reducing fat and saturated fat. Our findings suggest that the priority should be increasing protective foods such as nuts (often avoided as too energy dense), fish and dairy, rather than restricting dairy (especially whole-fat) to very low amounts. Our results show that up to two servings a day of dairy, mainly whole-fat, can be included in a healthy diet. This is in keeping with modern nutrition science showing that dairy, particularly whole-fat, may protect against high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.

The study examined the relationships between a new diet score and health outcomes in a global population. A healthy diet score was created based on six foods that have each been linked with longevity.

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The PURE diet included 2-3 servings of fruit per day, 2-3 servings of vegetables per day, 3-4 servings of legumes per week, 7 servings of nuts per week, 2-3 servings of fish per week, and 14 servings of dairy products (mainly whole fat but not including butter or whipped cream) per week.

A score of 1 (healthy) was assigned for intake above the median in the group and a score of 0 (unhealthy) for intake at or below the median, for a total of 0 to 6. Dr Mente explained,

Participants in the top 50% of the population – an achievable level – on each of the six food components attained the maximum diet score of six.

Associations of the score with mortality, myocardial infarction, stroke and total CVD (including fatal CVD and non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke and heart failure) were tested in the PURE study which included 147,642 people from the general population in 21 countries.

The analyses were adjusted for factors that could influence the relationships such as age, sex, waist-to-hip ratio, education level, income, urban or rural location, physical activity, smoking status, diabetes, use of statins or high blood pressure medications, and total energy intake. Dr Mente said,

This was by far the most diverse study of nutrition and health outcomes in the world and the only one with sufficient representation from high-, middle- and low-income countries. The connection between the PURE diet and health outcomes was found in generally healthy people, patients with CVD, patients with diabetes, and across economies. Professor Salim Yusuf, senior author and principal investigator of PURE said,

The associations were strongest in areas with the poorest quality diet, including South Asia, China and Africa, where calorie intake was low and dominated by refined carbohydrates. This suggests that a large proportion of deaths and CVD in adults around the world may be due to undernutrition, that is, low intakes of energy and protective foods, rather than overnutrition. This challenges current beliefs

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In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, US stated,

The new results in PURE, in combination with prior reports, call for a re-evaluation of unrelenting guidelines to avoid whole-fat dairy products. Investigations such as the one by Mente and colleagues remind us of the continuing and devastating rise in diet-related chronic diseases globally, and of the power of protective foods to help address these burdens. It is time for national nutrition guidelines, private sector innovations, government tax policy and agricultural incentives, food procurement policies, labelling and other regulatory priorities, and food-based healthcare interventions to catch up to the science. Millions of lives depend on it.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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