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  1. All, The New York Times has an article out yesterday title Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree highlighting the results of a survey they conducted comparing what foods average Americans think are healthy/unhealthy vs. what a panel of 50 nutritionists thought about the same foods. The upshot is best groked from the handy graph they provided, showing how the healthiness of foods was rated by average people (x-axis) vs. nutritionists (y-axis): Foods along the diagonal show agreement between the two groups. Foods above the diagonal are ones the nutritionists were more likely to rate as healthy compared with the public. Conversely, foods below the diagonal are ones the public in general though were healthier than the nutritionists. As the title implies, the article focused on areas of disagreement - like granola, coconut oil and frozen yogurt, which the public thought were healthy but not nutritionists, and foods like quinoa, tofu and sushi which the experts rated healthy but not the public. But what was a bit surprising to me was how much agreement there was between the two groups. It appears in general the American public knows what's good and bad for them, they just don't or can't eat healthy based on that knowledge. The other thing that surprised me was how high both groups (but especially nutritionists) rated chicken and turkey. These "white meats" have been traditionally thought of as healthy by well-informed people, but lately the link between chicken and obesity / diabetes has sullied their reputation. It appears nutritionists haven't yet gotten the memo... --Dean
  2. Al posted a new study [1], that appears to me to support the theory I've been promulgating for a while that what's important for health and longevity is the quality of one's diet and lifestyle, rather than the quantity of calories one eats. The study followed over 90,000 postmenopausal women for about 13 years to see how the baseline quality of their diet (as quantified by 4 popular dietary quality metrics) impacted subsequent mortality. The dietary quality metrics were designed to gauge how well the women adhered to commonly-accepted 'good' dietary patterns, like following a Mediterranean Diet, or a DASH-like diet. All four shared much in common (emphasize fruits & vegetables, whole grains, avoid red & processed meat, etc.), and fortunately all four resulted in similar outcomes in this study, so I'll collapse all four in my brief discussion of the results below into a single notion of a "good diet". What they found was the women who had the best diet (i.e. were in the highest quintile of 'good diet' score relative to lowest quintile) had about a 20-25% lower risk of dying during the 13 year follow-up period. They also had a lower BMI (25-26 vs. 28-29) although weren't especially slim, and the exercised more than the women who ate the crappiest diet, although the researchers attempted to factor out BMI, exercise, and calories (see next point) from their statistical analysis to focus on the link between diet quality and mortality. On average the women who were eating the best diet and hence were healthier & longer-lived didn't report eating any fewer calories than the women eating the crappiest diet (although as we know food frequency questionnaires are fraught with difficulties...), they were just eating healthy foods rather than unhealthy ones. In short, this is yet one more study showing that dramatic improvements in health/longevity, on par with what we hope to achieve via CR, seem to be attainable by following a healthy obesity-avoiding diet & lifestyle, but without calorie restriction. --Dean -------- [1] Comparing indices of diet quality with chronic disease mortality risk in postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study: evidence to inform national dietary guidance. George SM, Ballard-Barbash R, Manson JE, Reedy J, Shikany JM, Subar AF, Tinker LF, Vitolins M, Neuhouser ML. Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Sep 15;180(6):616-25. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwu173. Epub 2014 Jul 17. PMID: 25035143 Free PMC Article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4157698/ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4157698/pdf/kwu173.pdf Abstract Poor diet quality is thought to be a leading risk factor for years of life lost. We examined how scores on 4 commonly used diet quality indices-the Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI), the Alternative Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI), the Alternate Mediterranean Diet (aMED), and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)-are related to the risks of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer among postmenopausal women. Our prospective cohort study included 63,805 participants in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study (from 1993-2010) who completed a food frequency questionnaire at enrollment. Cox proportional hazards models were fit using person-years as the underlying time metric. We estimated multivariate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for death associated with increasing quintiles of diet quality index scores. During 12.9 years of follow-up, 5,692 deaths occurred, including 1,483 from CVD and 2,384 from cancer. Across indices and after adjustment for multiple covariates, having better diet quality (as assessed by HEI, AHEI, aMED, and DASH scores) was associated with statistically significant 18%-26% lower all-cause and CVD mortality risk. Higher HEI, aMED, and DASH (but not AHEI) scores were associated with a statistically significant 20%-23% lower risk of cancer death. These results suggest that postmenopausal women consuming a diet in line with a priori diet quality indices have a lower risk of death from chronic disease. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 2014. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US. KEYWORDS: diet; diet quality indices; mortality risk; postmenopausal women; prospective cohort study
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