13 June, 2016    #81

Dietary Guidelines for Health & Life: The Science

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The components of healthy eating patterns were developed by integrating findings from Systematic Reviews of Scientific Research, Food Pattern Modeling, and Analyses of current diets of the U.S. population:


Systematic Reviews of Scientific Research
    Examines relationships between the overall diet, including foods, beverages, nutrients and health.
Food Pattern Modeling:
    Assesses how well various combinations and amounts of foods from all food groups would result in healthy eating patterns that meet nutrient needs and accommodate limits, such as those for saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium.
Diet Analyses:
    Identify areas of potential health concerns.



Together, these complementary approaches provide a robust evidence base for healthy eating patterns that both reduce risk of diet-related chronic disease and ensure nutrient adequacy.


Scientific evidence supporting dietary guidance has grown and evolved over the decades. Previous editions of the Dietary Guidelines relied on the evidence of relationships between individual nutrients, foods, and food groups and health outcomes.


Although this evidence base continues to be substantial, foods are not consumed in isolation, but rather in various combinations over time—an “eating pattern.”


Dietary components of an eating pattern can have interactive, synergistic, and potentially cumulative relationships, such that the eating pattern may be more predictive of overall health status and disease risk than individual foods or nutrients. However, each identified component of an eating pattern does not necessarily have the same independent relationship to health outcomes as the total eating pattern, and each identified component may not equally contribute (or may be a marker for other factors) to the associated health outcome. An evidence base is now available that evaluates overall eating patterns and various health outcomes.



Associations Between Eating Patterns and Health

    Evidence shows that healthy eating patterns are associated with positive health outcomes. The evidence base for associations between eating patterns and specific health outcomes continues to grow. Strong evidence shows that healthy eating patterns are associated with a reduced risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).

Moderate evidence indicates that healthy eating patterns also are associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes, certain types of Cancers (such as colorectal and postmenopausal breast cancers), Overweight, and Obesity.

Emerging evidence also suggests that relationships may exist between eating patterns and some Neurocognitive Disorders (Alzheimer's) and Congenital Anomalies.


Foods identified Consistently with healthy eating patterns:
      Large amounts of Fruits & Vegetables
      Whole Grains
  Foods identified Less Consistently with healthy eating patterns:
      Fat-Free or Low -Fat Dairy
      Processed Meats & Poultry
      Sugar-sweetened Foods (particularly beverages)
      Refined Grains

Associations Between Dietary Components and Health

    The evidence on food groups and various health outcomes that is reflected in the Dietary Guidelines complements and builds on the evidence of the previous 2010 edition. For example, research has shown that vegetables and fruits are associated with a reduced risk of many chronic diseases, including CVD, and may be protective against certain types of cancers. 

Additionally, some evidence indicates that whole grain intake may reduce risk for CVD and is associated with lower body weight. Research also has linked dairy intake to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents.



Our next Trax News article will take a closer look inside healthy eating patterns.



Bon Appétit



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Thanks for Reading Trax News!


Mike Kohut, President, DDMS




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