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Western Diet

Western diet

  • Because we do not eat just 1 nutrient or 1 food, it is important to examine the role of dietary patterns and their relation with health outcomes. Previous studies in adults have shown a Western dietary pattern (a diet high in red and processed meat, fried food, high-fat dairy foods, and sugar sweetened beverages) to be associated with adverse levels of cardiovascular risk factors, higher BMI, and higher CVD, cancer, and all-cause mortality (Figure 060). 1-4
  • Conversely, a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, supplemented with olive oil or nuts, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors. 5 Despite these presumed benefits, well-controlled studies in adults and children on the effect of these nutrients on risk for CVD are lacking. A recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association provides nutrition recommendations for the promotion of cardiovascular health in children and adolescents and is focused on total caloric intake and eating behaviors as part of a comprehensive healthy lifestyle.6


1. Fung TT, Schulze M, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Dietary patterns, meat intake, and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Arch Intern Med. Nov 8 2004;164(20):2235-2240.

2. Fung T T, Rimm EB, Spiegelman D, et al. Association between dietary patterns and plasma biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular disease risk. Am J Clin Nutr. Jan 2001;73(1):61-67.

3. Maskarinec G, Novotny R, Tasaki K. Dietary patterns are associated with body mass index in multiethnic women. J Nutr. Dec 2000;130(12):3068-3072.

4. Newby PK, Muller D, Hallfrisch J, Qiao N, Andres R, Tucker KL. Dietary patterns and changes in body mass index and waist circumference in adults. Am J Clin Nutr. Jun 2003;77(6):1417-1425.

5. Estruch R, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Corella D, et al. Effects of a Mediterranean-style diet on cardiovascular risk factors: a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine. Jul 4 2006;145(1):1-11.

6. Gidding SS, Dennison BA, Birch LL, et al. Dietary recommendations for children and adolescents: a guide for practitioners: consensus statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Sep 27 2005;112(13):2061-2075.

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