Speaking at the Nutrition & Health Live conference, Lee Ashton from the University of Leeds, UK, explained that researchers, industry, and policy makers could gain a better insight into the links between health and disease by looking at total dietary patterns, rather than focusing on study’s that only measure single nutrient intakes.
His award winning masters degree project, titled ‘How well does a Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Index Score (T2DPIS), predict incidence of the disease in the UK Women’s Cohort Study’ found that women consuming a healthy dietary pattern – including high intakes of whole grains, fruit and vegetables, fish and poultry – were at almost half the risk of developing type 2 diabetes than women who consumed lower scoring dietary patterns – which included high amounts of red and processed meats, high fat dairy, confectionary, and alcohol.
“People can easily integrate these [healthier] foods in their diet. It’s important to try and attempt to do that,” said Ashton.
“There are so many diseases that are linked to diabetes, with similar risk factors ... If you try to achieve these healthy dietary patterns then it may also help reduce the risk of other chronic diseases,” he suggested.