Healthier eating leads to better health. But does it matter what kind of healthy eating plan you follow? Researchers looked at the effect of four healthy eating patterns on more than 120,000 people. The four patterns, all recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, were the Healthy Eating Index 2015, Alternate Mediterranean Diet, Healthful Plant-based Diet, and Alternate Healthy Eating Index. While they differ somewhat, all four encourage high consumption of plant-based foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
The participants filled out dietary questionnaires every four years for over three decades. The data showed that those who closely followed one or more of the four healthy eating patterns were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or respiratory disease during this period compared with those who did not follow any of the four patterns or did so less often. The results suggest that the ideal healthy eating pattern need not always be one particular diet but could be a combination that shares similar traits. The researchers added that people should focus on which diets are easiest to follow and meet their nutritional requirements and food preferences. The study was published online Jan. 9, 2023, by JAMA Internal Medicine.
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