Modest Change in Diet can Reduce the Risk of Premature Death – New Study Finds


One third of American adults are suffering from obesity, thus many of them are finding its solution in habit of healthy eating.

Their extreme desire for quick weight loss lead them to follow fad diets which fail in the long run.

Fortunately, new research has found its solution in moderate approach to your regular diet.

According to new study, conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health – “Improving the quality of your diet over time, even with small changes to it may significantly reduce the risk of premature death.”

Diet improvement includes little transformation in your regular diet which replaces habit of eating more red and processed meats and sugary beverages with consuming more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish.

Lead author Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, who worked on the study said in his statement that – “Overall, our findings underscore the benefits of healthy eating patterns including the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. Our study indicates that even modest improvements in diet quality could meaningfully influence mortality risk and conversely, worsening diet quality may increase the risk,”

The study originally published in the New England Journal of Medicine has been executed by Sotos-Prieto and her team. They have analyzed data on nearly 74,000 adults over a 12-year period.

Researchers evaluated participant’s diet in three different scoring methods such as;

  • The 2010 Alternate Healthy Eating Index
  • The Alternate Mediterranean Diet score
  • The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet score

Each methods include different types of food, with healthier foods receiving higher scores and less healthy foods receiving lower scores.

The study results showed that better diet quality over a 12-year period was linked to a lower risk of death in the subsequent 12 years. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fish or n-3 fatty acids appeared as main contributors to an improvement in diet quality.

More specifically, the study showed that 20% increase in diet quality was associated with 6% to 17% reduction in the risk of premature death.

On the other hand, worse diet quality linked to 6% to 12% increase in the risk of death.

Nancy Z. Farrell, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said –

“the findings reinforce the work she does every day with her patients”

She told to CBS News that –

“Registered dietitian nutritionists practice evidence-based science every day in encouraging and educating the public on disease prevention and treatment, and we know that chronic disease increases the cost of health care and drives up insurance premiums,”

According to her, everyone can get benefits from smarter swapping to their diet.

Frank Hu, professor and chair of the Harvard Chan School department of nutrition and senior author of the study said “Our results highlight the long-term health benefits of improving diet quality with an emphasis on overall dietary patterns rather than on individual foods or nutrients”.

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