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Other news

Mediterranean Diet Associated with Lifespan and Healthspan



Summary:

Industrially processed foods are associated with lower diet quality due to their leading high content of calories, free sugars, saturated fat, salt, and low dietary fibers. The consumption of these foods leads to a worse cardiometabolic profile and an increase in the risk of cardiovascular diseases, depression and all-cause mortality, as suggested by a recent meta-analysis of our group. Some recent studies have suggested an association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the consumption of ultra-processed foods, although the evidence remains limited.

In a cross-sectional study that included a total of 670 participants, the consumption of ultra-processed foods was evaluated through a food frequency questionnaire (NFFQ). The percentage of consumption of ultra-processed foods in the diet was approximately 16% (which corresponded to 299 g of ultra-processed foods per day). It was observed that participants with a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet also consumed lower amounts of ultra-processed foods. Contrastingly, participants with lower adherence to this dietary pattern consumed diets comprising 22% of ultra-processed foods (especially cookies and prepackaged sweets, soft and energy drinks, sausages and other reconstituted meat products, and pre-packaged bread and bread alternatives).

Undoubtedly, ultra-processed foods are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, however the performance of various dietary patterns in the reduction of cardiovascular disease risk is less known. Summarizing the evidence on distinct dietary patterns is therefore crucial to aid clinicians and patients at selecting healthful dietary practices. A recent review analyzed different dietary patterns and the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Comparing 5 distinct dietary patterns, the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in plant-based foods, characterized by a low to moderate consumption of meat, dairy products, eggs and wine, and favors olive oil as the main source of fat, has demonstrated to improve plasma lipids, blood pressure and in term prevent the incidence of cardiovascular disease. In support of these statements are the results from the PREDIMED trial as well as multiple prospective cohort studies that suggest that individuals who adhere to the Mediterranean diet have a longer lifespan. These were the results of a meta-analysis of prospective studies related to Mediterranean diet consumption in which participants with a history of cardiovascular disease were found to have a relative reduction of risk of 9% for cardiovascular disease mortality and 15% for all-cause mortality.








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