Starchy snacks and ‘western style’ breakfasts can harm heart health

June 28, 2021 – New research shows what you eat and when you eat it can affect heart health.

Researchers have found that eating starchy snacks high in white potatoes or other starchy foods after any meal may increase your risk of contracting heart disease. Eating a “Western-style” lunch high in refined grains, cheese and processed meat was also linked to heart disease.

Conversely, eat fruit for lunch, vegetables for dinner and milk nibble at night can lower your risk of heart disease.

“People are increasingly concerned about what they eat and when they eat. Our results revealed that the amount and timing of consuming various types of foods are also essential for maintaining optimal health. said lead researcher Ying Li, PhD, at Harbin Medical. China University School of Public Health, mentionned in a report

“A fruit snack after breakfast, a fruit lunch, a vegetable dinner, and an after-dinner dairy snack “appear to be best for heart health, the researchers concluded in their report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Their results are based on dietary information from approximately 21,500 American adults who participated in the Federal Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) from 2003 to 2014. Respondents were asked to recall their eating and snacking habits throughout an entire day. .

Among the main conclusions:

  • Eating a Western breakfast (usually containing refined grains, cheese, and cold meats) was associated with a 44% increased risk of dying from heart and vascular disease.
  • Eating a fruit-based breakfast was associated with a 34% reduction in the risk of dying from heart and vascular disease.
  • Eating a vegetable-based dinner was associated with a 23% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 31% lower risk of dying from any cause.
  • Eating a high starch snack after any meal was associated with a 50 to 52% increased risk of dying from any cause, and a 44 to 57% increased risk of dying from illness cardiac.

The content, amount and time you eat are “just as critical” to maintaining health. The right time to eat is “essential” to regulate metabolism and prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease, the researchers wrote.

“Future nutritional guidelines and intervention strategies could incorporate optimal consumption times for foods throughout the day,” Li said.

A key limitation of the study is that the participants self-reported information about their diet, which can lead to recall bias.

WebMD Health News


Journal of the American Heart Association: “Association of Meal and Snack Patterns with All-Cause Mortality, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: The US Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003 to 2014.”

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