Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Western diet accountable for nearly a third of the world’s heart attack risk

An article published online on October 21, 2008 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association estimates that the diet typically consumed in Western countries, consisting of high amounts of meat, fried foods, and salty snacks, is responsible for approximately 30 percent of heart attack risk worldwide.

Salim Yusuf, DPhil and colleagues analyzed data from the INTERHEART study of heart attack risk factors among 16,000 participants in 52 countries. Five thousand seven hundred sixty-one participants diagnosed with heart attack were compared to 10,646 participants without known heart disease. The subjects were interviewed concerning dietary intake, including healthy as well as unhealthy food consumption. The researchers identified three dietary patterns, which they labeled as Oriental, prudent or Western.

Oriental diets were characterized by a higher intake of tofu, soy, and other sauces, the prudent pattern contained a greater intake of fruit and vegetables, and the Western diet included an increased amount of meat, eggs, salty snacks and fried foods. While followers of a “prudent” diet had a 30 percent lower average heart attack risk compared with people who consumed few fruits and vegetables, those who reported a Western dietary pattern experienced a 35 percent greater risk of heart attack than those who consumed few or no fried foods or meat. Continue Reading

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