Dietary guidelines play role in disease risk reduction

By Laura Crowley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Consumers adhering to healthy diets similar to the 2005 Dietary
Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) are less likely to suffer from
metabolic syndrome, say researchers.

The study, which was funded in part by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​, showed sticking to government recommendations was inversely linked with metabolic syndrome (MetS) - a condition that increases a person's susceptibility to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. MetS presents itself as a cluster of health risk factors, including symptoms such as elevated waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high fasting glucose levels. "To our knowledge, this was the first study to assess a diet consistent with the 2005 DGA and prevalence of MetS and its metabolic risk factors,"​ said the study's authors. "This research provides evidence that the 2005 DGA recommendations present a healthy eating pattern associated with a reduced chronic disease risk profile in a community-basedUSadult population." The study ​The Dietary Guidelines for Americans Index (DGAI) was created to assess adherence to GDA recommendations by looking at food consumption and physical activity. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines was the sixth version of the GDAs, and emphasises nutrient density, balancing calories and physical activity for weight management, limiting trans fat intake, increasing whole grain and low-fat milk intake, consuming a greater variety of as well as stressing the intake of a greater variety of fruit and vegetables. The DGAI was used to assess the relationship between diets similar to the government recommendations and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in 3,177 partipants (1,493 men and 1,684 women with ages ranging from 26 to 82). Forty-three per cent of the men and 30 per cent of the women were found to have symptoms for MetS. Of these, only 120 had a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 (meaning they had a normal weight) whereas 1030 had a BMI over 25 (meaning they were overweight or obese). The prevalence of hypertension risk was the highest of the five risk factors for both men (55 per cent) and women (42 per cent). Those with the highest DGAI score were significantly more likely to be women than men (73 per cent compared to 30 per cent). They were also more likely to use multivitamin supplements, have a lower BMI and were less likely to be smokers. The report said: "Our findings suggest that the association between MetS and consumption of a diet consistent with the 2005 DGA as assessed by the DGAI is due largely to 4 of its 5 component risk factors: waist circumference, fasting plasma glucose, plasma triacylglycerol, and blood pressure (hypertension)." Limitations ​ However, a cause and effect relationship could not be ascertained as the results were merely correlative. Also, it was impossible to know the type of diets and lifestyles older participants had at earlier stages in their lives, which would have affected their susceptibility to MetS. Furthermore, the researchers did not know if their population was representative of all adult Americans and the cohort was "almost exclusively white"​. However, many other studies have linked a poor diet with metabolic syndrome. For example, last month, a study was published that showed a relationship between the high calorie, low fibre dietary pattern associated with the Western diet and an increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Fifteen per cent of adult Europeans are estimated to be affected by MetS, while the US statistic is estimated to be a whopping 32 per cent, up from 28 per cent in 1994. Obesity is established to be the main risk factor for MetS. CVD ranks first as the cause of death among adult Americans and results in almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and reported to cost the EU economy an estimated €169bn ($202bn) per year. Source American Journal of Clinical "The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and risk of the metabolic syndrome"​ Authors: Jeanene Fogli-Cawley, Johanna Dwyer, Edward Saltzman, Marjorie McCullough, Lisa Troy, James Meigs and Paul Jacques

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