Diet Quality and Covid-19 Risk/Severity

Poor metabolic health and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors have been associated with higher risk and severity of COVID-19.

A dietary pattern characterized by healthy plant-based foods was associated with lower risk and severity of COVID-19.

We found evidence of a synergistic association of poor diet and increased socioeconomic deprivation with COVID-19 risk that was higher than the sum of the risk associated with each factor alone.

Merino J, Joshi AD, Nguyen LH, et al
Diet quality and risk and severity of COVID-19: a prospective cohort study
Gut 2021;70:2096-2104. — https://gut.bmj.com/content/70/11/2096

In six countries, plant-based diets or pescatarian diets were associated with lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. These dietary patterns may be considered for protection against severe COVID-19 In 2884 front-line healthcare workers from six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, USA), individuals who reported following plant-based diets and plant-based diets or pescatarian diets that were higher in vegetables, legumes and nuts, and lower in poultry and red and processed meats, had 73% and 59% lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19, respectively.

Kim H, Rebholz CM, Hegde S, et al. Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case–control study in six countries
BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2021;4:doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2021-000272 — https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/4/1/257

Eat your vegetables!

MIND Your Diet

MIND diet is associated with better cognitive functioning independently of brain pathology, suggesting that the MIND diet may contribute to cognitive resilience in older adults.

Dhana, Klodian et al. ‘MIND Diet, Common Brain Pathologies, and Cognition in Community-Dwelling Older Adults’. 1 Jan. 2021 : 683 – 692. — https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad210107

So, what is the MIND diet?

The traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern includes mainly whole, minimally processed plant foods including cereal grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and fish with small amounts of meat, milk, and dairy products and a regular modest amount of alcohol.4 The DASH diet emphasizes fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and is reduced in fats, red meat, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages.4 Combining the two diets, the MIND diet emphasizes natural, plant-based foods, specifically promoting an increase in the consumption of berries and green leafy vegetables, with limited intakes of animal-based and high saturated fat foods.

What Are the Components to the MIND Diet? — https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(15)01251-4/fulltext

I became aware of the MIND diet earlier this year. It’s nice to know my dietary pattern has a name.

Showing Cajones in the Obesity Wars

In Mexico obesity reached epidemic proportions after it joined NAFTA with the United States and Canada in the early 1990s, making processed food more easily available. Diets quickly changed as many people, particularly those on lower incomes, replaced largely healthy traditional staples (corn tortilla, frijoles, Jamaica Water) with highly processed alternatives (hotdogs, nuggets, sodas). Sugar consumption soared and waistlines exploded. In the past 20 years the number of obese and overweight people has tripled, with 75% of the population now overweight.

Mexico also has the sixth highest mortality rate from Covid-19, which has spurred the government to escalate its war against obesity.

Mexico’s War on Obesity Sends Global Junk-Food & Sugary-Drink Giants Scrambling — https://wolfstreet.com/2021/04/13/mexicos-war-on-obesity-sends-global-junk-food-sugary-drink-giants-scrambling/#comments

Diet modifications (including more wine and cheese) May Help Reduce Cognitive Decline

Participants also answered questions about their food and alcohol consumption at baseline and through two follow-up assessments. The Food Frequency Questionnaire asked participants about their intake of fresh fruit, dried fruit, raw vegetables and salad, cooked vegetables, oily fish, lean fish, processed meat, poultry, beef, lamb, pork, cheese, bread, cereal, tea and coffee, beer and cider, red wine, white wine and Champaign and liquor.

Here are four of the most significant findings from the study:

Cheese, by far, was shown to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive problems, even late into life;

The daily consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, was related to improvements in cognitive function;

Weekly consumption of lamb, but not other red meats, was shown to improve long-term cognitive prowess; and

Excessive consumption of salt is bad, but only individuals already at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease may need to watch their intake to avoid cognitive problems over time.

Iowa State University. “Diet modifications — including more wine and cheese — may help reduce cognitive decline, study suggests.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201210145850.htm (accessed December 13, 2020).

Journal Reference

  1. Brandon S. Klinedinst, Scott T. Le, Brittany Larsen, Colleen Pappas, Nathan J. Hoth, Amy Pollpeter, Qian Wang, Yueying Wang, Shan Yu, Li Wang, Karin Allenspach, Jonathan P. Mochel, David A. Bennett, Auriel A. Willette. Genetic Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease Modulate How Diet is Associated with Long-Term Cognitive Trajectories: A UK Biobank Study. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2020; 78 (3): 1245 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-201058

Finally some good news.

Nutrition Matters

By many measures, the population of the United States is the unhealthiest of any high-income country despite spending much more money, as a share of the economy, on health care. The incidence of chronic disease is higher and life expectancy is lower.

Many chronic conditions plaguing Americans, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, are avoidable with a prudent diet and lifestyle. Today, more than 42% of American adults have obesity, as do 19.3% of children of age 19 and under. The U.S. has the world’s 12th-highest obesity rate, after Kuwait. (The top 10 are all small Pacific island nations.)

Diet makes a difference. Nearly half of all deaths in the U.S. from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes are associated with diet, such as the over-consumption of processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages and insufficient intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Make America healthy again by paying more attention to nutrition — https://www.statnews.com/2020/11/04/nutrition-make-america-healthy-again/?utm_campaign=rss

Presented without the usual snarky comment from yours truly. Read the full article. You’ll find more links for your reading pleasure.

NAFLD – Why are Life Insurers Taking This Risk at Standard Rates?

Conclusion All NAFLD histological stages were associated with significantly increased overall mortality, and this risk increased progressively with worsening NAFLD histology. Most of this excess mortality was from extrahepatic cancer and cirrhosis, while in contrast, the contributions of cardiovascular disease and HCC were modest.

Mortality in biopsy-confirmed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: results from a nationwide cohort — https://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2020/10/09/gutjnl-2020-322786?rss=1

Diet. That’s it. That’s my post.

Eat More Broccoli

Published in the British Journal of Nutrition the research has found higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, is associated with less extensive blood vessel disease in older women.

Using data from a cohort of 684 older Western Australian women recruited in 1998, researchers from ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences and The University of Western Australia found those with a diet comprising more cruciferous vegetables had a lower chance of having extensive build-up of calcium on their aorta, a key marker for structural blood vessel disease.

Dr Blekkenhorst said women in this study who consumed more than 45g of cruciferous vegetables every day (e.g. ¼ cup of steamed broccoli or ½ cup of raw cabbage) were 46 percent less likely to have extensive build-up of calcium on their aorta in comparison to those consuming little to no cruciferous vegetables every day.

Edith Cowan University. “Broccoli and Brussels sprouts a cut above for blood vessel health.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200820102434.htm (accessed August 20, 2020).

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200820102434.htm

Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

Meat Intake and Colorectal Polyps

Meat Intake and Colorectal Polyps

Research professor of medicine Martha Shrubsole, Ph.D., and colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have published the first study to evaluate intakes of meat, cooking methods and meat mutagens and risk of developing sessile serrated polyps (SSPs, also called sessile serrated lesions). Shrubsole previously reported that consuming high levels of red meat increased the risk of developing all types of polyps, but that the likelihood of developing SSPs was two times greater than the risk of developing adenomas and hyperplastic polyps (HP).

Conventional colorectal adenomas are the precursor lesions for most colorectal cancers. SSPs, however, represent an alternative pathway to carcinogenesis that may account for up to 35 percent of colorectal cancers. Because a diagnostic consensus for SSPs was not reached until 2010, few epidemiologic studies have evaluated risk factors.

 

Taco Bell is launching an all-vegetarian menu feature with 50 meat-free items

Taco Bell is launching an all-vegetarian menu feature with 50 meat-free items

I’ve been following the Vegan Tsunami for some time now.  See here, here, and here, 2018-The year vegan junk food went mainstream.

A few things to remember:

  • The media is extremely loud on this subject and the percentage of vegetarians in the United States is approximately 5% or less.
  • Fast food is still fast food, meat or no meat.
  • My post is not an endorsement.

I haven’t eaten at a Taco Hell in years.  And the availability of 50 meat free items is not going to entice me to start eating there again.  If you’re eating less meat for health reasons that’s fine.  But don’t pursue your meat-free lifestyle with fast food.