22 Aug For Cardiovascular Health Plant Food Quality Matters
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Megu Baden, MD, PhD
Department of Nutrition
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you give an example of healthful vs non-healthful plantbased diet?
Response: Plant-based diets are recommended for health and recently also for their environmental benefits. However, most previous studies defined it as either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and importantly, without differentiation for the quality of plant foods. As you know, not all plant foods are equally good to our health.
Therefore, to capture the quality of plant-based diets, we established overall, healthful and unhealthful plant-based diet indices. A higher score on the overall plant based diet index indicates greater intake of all types of plant foods and less of animal foods. A higher score on the healthful plant based diet index indicates greater intake of only healthy plant foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, vegetable oils, tea/coffee), and less of less healthy plant foods (fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets/desserts) and animal foods. A higher score on the unhealthful plant based diet index indicates greater intake of only less healthy plant foods, and less of healthy plant foods and animal foods.
In this study, we used these plant-based diet indices and investigated the associations between 12-year changes in plant-based diet quality and subsequent total and cause-specific mortality in two large US cohorts.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Improving plant-based diet quality over a 12-year period was associated with subsequent lower risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality, whereas increased consumption of an unhealthful plant-based diet was associated with a higher risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Increasing intakes of healthy plant foods and decreasing intakes of less healthy and/or animal foods can lower the future risk of mortality.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: It would be important to replicate our findings in other large cohorts. Also, we would like to integrate the recent omics technology, such as metabolomics and gut microbiome, and investigate to examine the mechanisms underlying the association between improved plant-based diet quality and lower mortality risk.
Dr. Li and Dr. Hu reported receiving research support from California Walnut Commission. Dr. Satija is currently employed at Analysis Group, Inc. All other authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.
Changes in Plant-Based Diet Quality and Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
Megu Y. Baden,Gang Liu, Ambika Satija, Yanping Li, Qi Sun, Teresa T. Fung, Eric B. Rimm, Walter C. Willett, Frank B. Hu, and Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju
Originally published12 Aug 2019
Last Modified: [last-modified]
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Last Updated on August 22, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD