Starchy snacks could increase your heart disease risk

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In a study from Harbin Medical University, scientists found eating starchy snacks high in white potato or other starches after any meal was associated with at least a 50% increased risk of mortality and a 44-57% increased risk of CVD-related death.

Conversely, eating fruits, vegetables, or dairy at specific meals is associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease, cancer, or any cause.

In the study, the team analyzed the results of 21,503 participants. Among the study population, 51% of participants were women and all participants were ages 30 or older at the start of the study.

The team categorized participants’ dietary patterns by analyzing what types of food they ate at different meals.

For the main meals, three main dietary patterns were identified for the morning meal: Western breakfast, starchy breakfast, and fruit breakfast.

Western lunch, vegetable lunch, and fruit lunch were identified as the main dietary patterns for the mid-day meal.

Western dinner, vegetable dinner, and fruit dinner were identified as the main dietary patterns for the evening meal.

For snacks, grain snacks, starchy snacks, fruit snacks, and dairy snacks were identified as the main snack patterns in between meals.

Additionally, participants who did not fit into specific meal patterns were analyzed as a reference group.

Participants in the Western lunch group consumed the most servings of refined grain, solid fats, cheese, added sugars, and cured meat.

Participants in the fruit-based lunch group consumed the most servings of whole grains, fruits, yogurt, and nuts.

Participants in the vegetable-based dinner group consumed the most servings of dark vegetables, red and orange vegetables, tomatoes, other vegetables, and legumes.

Participants who consumed starchy snacks consumed the most servings of white potatoes.

The team found eating a Western lunch (typically containing refined grains, cheese, and cured meat) was associated with a 44% increased risk of CVD death.

Eating a fruit-based lunch was associated with a 34% reduced risk of CVD death.

Eating a vegetable-based dinner was associated with a 23% and 31% reduction in CVD and all-cause mortality, respectively.

Consuming a snack high in starch after any meal was linked to a 50-52% increased risk of all-cause mortality and a 44-57% increased risk of CVD-related mortality.

The results suggest that the amount and the intake time of various types of foods are equally critical for maintaining optimal health.

The team says future nutrition guidelines and interventional strategies could integrate optimal consumption times for foods across the day.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and drinking coffee this way may prevent heart disease and stroke.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that blackcurrants can reduce blood sugar after meals and results showing these antioxidants could help reduce the risk of dementia.

The study was conducted by Ying Li et al and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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