Western Diet Responsible for One-Third of Heart
(NaturalNews) One-third of heart attacks
worldwide may be attributable to diets high in fat, salt, eggs and meat, according to a
groundbreaking new study published in the journal Circulation.
"Thirty percent of the risk of heart disease in a population could be related to poor
diet," lead author Romania Iqbal said.
In the INTERHEART study, researchers from Canada's McMaster University compared diet and
heart attack risk among 16,000 people in 52 countries -- 5,561 people who had survived a heart attack, and 10,646 who had
no history of heart disease.
Using responses to a detailed dietary questionnaire, researchers assigned each participant
a dietary risk score based on their
consumption of 19 foods including
eggs, grains, fish, red or white meat, dairy, raw fruits and vegetables,
and fried and salty foods. The researchers then sorted respondents into three general
dietary categories: "Western," "prudent" and "Oriental
A Western dietary pattern was high in fried foods, eggs, meat and salt. The prudent pattern was high in
fruits and vegetables, while the
"Oriental" pattern was high in tofu and sauces such as soy sauce.
The researchers then compared the heart attack risk of people
who fell into each dietary category with those who did not, adjusting for other
cardiovascular risk factors such as age, body
mass index, exercise, geographical location, sex and smoking status.
People who ate lots of foods in the Western category had a 35 percent higher heart attack
risk than those who ate less meat, eggs,
and fried and salty foods. Conversely, those with a prudent diet had a 30 percent lower
heart attack risk than those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables.
"What we found was that the prudent diet, which is very simple -- lots of fruits and
vegetables, less fried food and red meat
-- was protective," senior author Salim Yusuf said. "It was protective in every
part of the world, in men and women, old and young -- everybody. And the degree of
protection was quite substantial."
There was no significant difference in heart attack risk between those who ate foods
characteristic of the "Oriental" diet and those who did not.
The researchers noted that the study's design was unique in zeroing in on the
cardiovascular effects of specific foods, and in examining the "Oriental" eating
pattern, as well as the more well-studied Western and prudent patterns.
Significantly, the study showed that the issue is not necessarily the specific dishes that
are more traditionally eaten by Western cultures -- such as meat and potatoes -- but
rather the presence of meat, eggs, fat and salt in the diet as a whole. Thus, replacing
traditional Western foods with fatty foods from other parts of the world will have little
"Most people in North America would think of French fries, pizza and potato chips as
the big offenders here," researcher Sonia Anand said "That's true, but we also
include into that things like samosas and pakoras and fried won ton so that this message
applies generally to people from India, people from China -- that deep frying is not good
"This study shows that it doesn't matter whether you live in Bolton or Bombay, or
whether you like to eat British, African Caribbean or Asian foods," agreed Ellen
Mason of the British Heart Foundation. "The vital thing is to reduce your intake of
salty, fried, fatty food to a minimum
but increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat."
The researchers speculated that the "Oriental" diet had no effect because it
contains both heart-positive and heart-negative foods -- such as salty sauces.
"Chinese people tend to have lower rates of heart disease, but it's because they don't
have a Western diet,"
Yusuf said. "Their diet is avoiding the bad things in the Western diet, but it could
be even better if they increased the amounts of fruits and vegetables they consumed."
4.19.2009, David Gutierrez, staff writer) http://www.naturalnews.com/z026077_food_foods_WHO.html
Sources for this story include: news.bbc.co.uk; www.cbc.ca; latimesblogs.latimes.com; www.canada.com.
Knowledge is the key to good health.