Starchy snacks lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease

According to a new study, starchy snacks may be harmful to heart health. Consumption of fruits, vegetables, or dairy at specified meals, on the other hand, is linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or any other cause. Eating starchy snacks high in white potato or other starches after any meal was linked to a 50% greater risk of mortality and a 44-57 percent increased risk of CVD-related death, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Ying Li, Ph.D., main study author and professor in the department of nutrition and food hygiene at Harbin Medical University School of Public Health in Harbin, China, said, “People are increasingly concerned about what they eat as well as when they consume.”

“Our team wanted to learn more about the effects of different foods at different meals,” Li explained.

Li and colleagues looked at the eating habits of 21,503 people who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the United States from 2003 to 2014.

At the commencement of the study, 51% of the participants were women, and all of the participants were 30 years old or older. Researchers used the National Death Index of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track individuals who died from CVD, cancer, or any other cause between December 31, 2015 and December 31, 2016.

Researchers classified individuals’ eating habits by looking at what they ate at different meals. For the morning meal, there were three main dietary trends identified: western breakfast, starchy breakfast, and fruit breakfast.

The primary dietary trends for the mid-day meal were classified as Western lunch, vegetable lunch, and fruit lunch. The primary nutritional patterns for the evening meal were recognised as Western dinner, vegetable dinner, and fruit dinner.

The main snack patterns in between meals were recognised as grain snacks, starchy snacks, fruit snacks, and dairy snacks. Participants who did not fit into any of the meal patterns were also studied as a control group. According to the study, the Western dietary pattern contains higher fat and protein proportions, which is similar to many North American meals.

The Western lunch group ingested the most refined grain, solid fats, cheese, added sweets, and cured meat of all the groups. The group that ate a fruit-based lunch ingested the most whole grains, fruits, yoghurt, and nuts.

Dark vegetables, red and orange vegetables, tomatoes, other vegetables, and legumes were ingested in the largest quantity by participants in the vegetable-based meal group. White potato consumption was highest among participants who ate starchy snacks.

Their findings are as follows:

  1. A Western lunch (usually consisting of refined carbohydrates, cheese, and cured meat) was linked to a 44% higher risk of CVD death.
  2. Consuming a fruit-based lunch was linked to a 34% lower risk of CVD death.
  3. Eating a vegetable-based meal was linked to a reduction in CVD and all-cause mortality of 23% and 31%, respectively.
  4. After any meal, eating a high-starch snack was linked to a 50-52% increased risk of all-cause death and a 44-57% increased risk of CVD-related mortality.

“Our findings demonstrated that the amount and timing of various forms of food intake are both important for maintaining good health,” Li added.

“Future dietary guidelines and interventional treatments could include optimal meal consumption periods throughout the day,” Li concluded.

The fact that subjects self-reported their dietary data may lead to recall bias is one of the study’s limitations. Other unmeasured confounding factors cannot be ruled out, even though the researchers adjusted for probable confounders.

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