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Starchy Snacks After Meals May Up Risk of Heart Disease

Starchy Snacks After Meals May Up Risk of Heart Disease

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  • Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality around the globe
  • Starchy snacks increase the risk of CVD-related mortality by 44-57%
  • Diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk by 34% and 23%, respectively

Your meal pattern determines the risk of mortality due to cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD), reveals a new study. Eating a lot of starchy snacks can increase the risk of CVD and death. However, consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of CVD and death.

The research was led by Dr.Ying Li, a professor in the department of nutrition and food hygiene at Harbin Medical University School of Public Health in Harbin, China. The team used the data of 21,503 participants who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of the U.S during the period 2003 to 2014.


"People are increasingly concerned about what they eat as well as when they eat. Our team sought to better understand the effects different foods have when consumed at certain meals," said Ying Li, lead author of the study.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD)refer to all the disorders that occur in the heart and blood vessels. According to the 2020 update on Heart disease and stroke statistics by the American Heart Association, about 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year.

Analysis of Meal Patterns

Researchers divided the meal patterns of participants based on what they ate throughout a whole day. They also used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Death Index to identify the cause of death of some participants through December 31, 2015.

The other factors considered were age, sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, disease histories of hypertension, and diabetes mellitus.

Do Meal Patterns Impact the Cause of Mortality?

The findings revealed that,
  • Fruit-based lunch reduced the risk of death from CVD by 34%, whereas a lunch with cheese, meat, and refined grains (a typical western lunch) increased this risk by 44%
  • Snack patterns high in starch increased the risk of CVD-related mortality and all-cause mortality by 44-57% and 50-52%, respectively.
  • Dinner with a high amount of vegetables reduced the likelihood of CVD-related mortality and all-cause mortality by 23% and 31%, respectively.

The limitation of the study is that dietary patterns were self-reported by the participants. Yet, the findings throw light on the need to consume the right food at the right time to prevent health conditions like cancer and heart disease.

"Our results revealed that the amount and the intake time of various types of foods are equally critical for maintaining optimal health. Future nutrition guidelines and interventional strategies could integrate optimal consumption times for foods across the day," concluded Li.

Reconstruct Your Diet Pattern Now with these Tips

  • Remember 5-A-day. Having five servings of fruits and vegetables a day helps keep diseases away
  • Replace the salty snacks with crunchy vegetable salads
  • Turn your boring breakfast into a refreshing one with creamy smoothies
  • Cut down on refined carbs and add more whole grains

  1. Association of Meal and Snack Patterns With Mortality of All‐Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: The US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003 to 2014 Wei Wei Ph.D., Wenbo Jiang Ph.D., Jiaxin Huang MD, Jiaxu Xu MD, Xuanyang Wang MD, Xiao Jiang Ph.D., Yu Wang MD, Guili Li MD, Changhao Sun Ph.D., Ying Li Ph.D. liying_helen@163.com, and Tianshu Han Ph.D. (snowcalendar@126.com)
  2. Starchy snacks may increase CVD risk; fruits and veggies at certain meals decreases risk - (https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-06/aha-ssm061821.php)

Source: Medindia

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