Can your diet in midlife predict your risk of disease and worsen future aging?
A Whitehall II study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, conducted in London analyzed data gathered from 5,350 adult participants’ dietary patterns to assess risk of disease. After a mean 16-year follow-up using scored dietary patterns and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), the study revealed that adults with better AHEI scores had better overall health outcome as they aged. Low adherence to the AHEI included participants in the study who consumed a “Western-type” diet, and were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems. The current “Western-type” diet is characterized by high intakes of fried and sweet foods, processed foods, red meats, and high-fat dairy products. The study concluded that participants who consumed the most high-fat animal products and overall unhealthy foods were more likely to die prematurely and to suffer from several chronic health diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and even mental health problems.
Yes, not all health problems are avoidable, but this study and several others prove that you have more control over your health and aging than you may think. Unhealthy lifestyles including smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, and unhealthful diet lead to higher risk of future health problems, diseases, and unhealthful aging. Therefore, it is very important for you to understand that the foods you eat and don’t eat have a powerful effect on your overall health.
PCRM. “Eating More Meat, Dairy, and Other Unhealthful Foods Leads to Worse Aging” https://www.pcrm.org/news/health-nutrition/
The American Journal of Medicine. “Does Overall Diet in Midlife Predict Future Aging Phenotypes? A Cohort Study” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743043/