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Editor's e-Note
Heart health is, of course, of particular concern to geriatricians and their patients. A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology explores the link between the risk of heart failure and five dietary patterns, finding that a Southern diet, rich in fried and processed foods as well as sweet drinks, brought the greatest risk, while plant-based diets were associated with the least in participants without known heart disease at baseline. Participants, who included 16,608 black and white individuals older than 45, answered a survey about 107 food items within five defined diets. In addition to the plant-based and Southern diets, the categories included a convenience diet, made up of a largely of meat, pasta, pizza, fast food, and Mexican dishes, and an alcohol/salads diet, which highlighted leafy greens with salad dressing and was “heavy” on beer, wine, and liquor. Compared with those who least closely followed a plant-based diet, those who were most adherent had a 41% lower risk of hospitalization for new heart failure.

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— Kate Jackson, editor
e-News Exclusive
Plant-Based Diets Can Be Effective in Reducing Heart Failure Risk

Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of heart failure in adults without known heart disease, while Southern diets consisting of more fried and processed foods and sweetened drinks are associated with greater risk, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that looked at the association between five dietary patterns and risk of heart failure.

Heart failure affects more than 5.7 million adults, and that number is expected to rise. Heart failure prevention strategies currently emphasize quitting smoking, managing high blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy diet and weight to prevent heart disease, but research is limited on dietary patterns and incident heart failure in patients without heart disease.

Researchers in this study looked at five major dietary patterns that were identified within the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study population and examined the association between those patterns and incident heart failure hospitalizations in REGARDS participants without known heart disease or heart failure at baseline. Within the REGARDS study, researchers narrowed their sample size to 16,608 black and white adults aged 45 years old and older.

Participants were sent a 150-question survey based on 107 food items, which were categorized into the following five predetermined diets:
  • Convenience diet (heavily meat dishes, pasta, Mexican dishes, pizza, and fast food);
  • Plant-based diet (vegetables, fruit, beans, and fish);
  • Sweets/fats diet (heavy on desserts, bread, sweet breakfast foods, chocolate, and other sugar);
  • Southern diet (heavy on fried food, processed meats, eggs, added fats, and sugar-sweetened beverages); and
  • Alcohol/salads diet (heavy on wine, liquor, beer, leafy greens, and salad dressing).
Full story »
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