Study: Eating Patterns Could Affect Risk of Heart Disease Mortality

The research concluded that eating starchy snacks after meals and eating a Western-style lunch containing refined grains, cheese, and cured meat elevates the risk of dying from heart disease and other illnesses.

A new study has found that the type of food and when it is consumed can affect the risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses, according to the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The research concluded that eating starchy snacks after meals and eating a Western-style lunch containing refined grains, cheese, and cured meat elevates the risk of dying from heart disease and other illnesses. Conversely, eating fruits as a snack after breakfast or with lunch, eating vegetables with dinner, and snacking on dairy foods in the evening lowered the risk of death, according to the study.

"People are increasingly concerned about what they eat as well as when they eat," lead study author Ying Li said in a press release. "Our results revealed that the amount and the intake time of various types of foods are equally critical for maintaining optimal health.”

Li and his team analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on the eating patterns for 21,503 adults who are 30 years of age and older across the United States from 2003 to 2014. They also used the CDC’s National Death Index to determine which participants had passed away.

The results showed that eating starchy snacks high in white potato or other starches after any meal could grow the risk of mortality from any illness by at least 50% and the risk of dying from heart-related problems by up to 57%. Participants who ate lunches high in refined grains, solid fats, cheese, cured meat, and added sugars, or a Western-style lunch, had a 44% higher risk of death from heart-related issues, according to the study authors.

There was a 34% lower risk of dying from heart disease for those who ate the most servings of whole grains, fruits, yogurt, and nuts at lunch, whereas consuming dinners high in dark vegetables, red and orange vegetables, tomatoes, other vegetables, and legumes showed a 23% lower risk of dying from heart disease and 31% lower overall death risk.

The findings of the study could help people plan meals for better health results, according to the study authors.

"Future nutrition guidelines and interventional strategies could integrate optimal consumption times for foods across the day,” Li said in the press release.

REFERENCE

Eating patterns could affect risk of dying from heart disease. American Heart Association. Published June 23, 2021. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2021/06/23/eating-patterns-could-affect-risk-of-dying-from-heart-disease