Longitudinal study finds healthy diets associated with significantly fewer deaths over ten year period
The findings of a study published online on January 18 2006 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that individuals whose diets scored higher on one of three dietary quality scores experienced less mortality from all causes during a ten year period.
Researchers in the Netherlands evaluated the diets of 2,068 men and 1,049 women between the ages of 70 and 90 enrolled in Healthy Aging: A Longitudinal study in Europe (HALE). The Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS), which measures adherence to a traditional Greek Mediterranean type diet, the Mediterranean Adequacy Index (MAI), which assesses how closely a diet reflects the Italian Reference Mediterranean diet, and the Healthy Diet Indicator (HDI), based on WHO guidelines for disease prevention, were used in the current study. Dietary histories were obtained by dieticians who queried the participants concerning their food consumption over the prior month. Participants were followed for ten years, during which there were 1,382 deaths.
The researchers found that among participants whose scores were greater than the median on any of the diets had less mortality from any cause. A higher Mediterranean Diet Score was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of dying during the study period than that experienced by those with a lower score, while a higher Mediterranean Adequacy Index was associated with a 17 percent lower risk, and a higher Healthy Diet Indicator with an 11 percent lower risk.
The dietary scoring systems provide points for greater consumption of legumes, cereals, vegetables and fruits, and less consumption of saturated fat, among other components. Analysis of single nutrient components showed associated mortality risk reductions similar to those of the total diet scores for some, but not all of the components. Examining the impact of single nutrients on mortality and/or disease fails to detect the interrelation of dietary components, which makes the current study and others that evaluate dietary patterns of interest to those wishing to live longer.
The premise of taking actions to maintain youthful health and vigor is based on findings from peer-reviewed scientific studies that identify specific factors that cause us to develop degenerative disease. These studies suggest that the consumption of certain foods, food extracts, hormones, or drugs will help to prevent common diseases that are associated with normal aging.
One of the most compelling reports that high-potency supplements extend lifespan in humans was by Losonczy et al. in the August 1996 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study involved 11,178 elderly people, who participated in a trial to establish the effects of vitamin supplements on mortality. The study showed that the use of vitamin E reduced the risk of death from all causes by 34%. Effects were strongest for coronary artery disease, where vitamin E resulted in a 63% reduction in death from heart attack. In addition, the use of vitamin E resulted in a 59% reduction in cancer mortality. When the effects of vitamins C and E were combined, overall mortality was reduced by 42% (compared to 34% for vitamin E alone) (Losonczy et al. 1996). These results provided significant evidence about the value of vitamin supplementation, yet the media failed to report on it. What made this study so credible was that:
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