7 Healthcast: Dangerous diet
There's more dramatic information about the link between what we eat and the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The new findings from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities, or ARIC study, were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
In our fast food nation, there's new information about how what we eat may be putting us at greater risk of heart disease and diabetes and stroke.
"This is a fairly frightening study," said cardiologist Dr. Richard A. Stein of the American Heart Association.
Researchers looked at food intake in more than 9000 adults.
After 9 years of follow-up, they found that those who ate a diet heavy in refined grains, processed meat, fried foods, and sweetened or diet soda had a dramatically increased risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What that means?
"Somewhere toward the early 60's, Almost 60%, 6 out of 10 of us, will have the metabolic syndrome," Dr. Stein said.
The study found the risk of developing the syndrome increased by 25% for adults who ate 2 or more servings of meat or chicken a day, compared with those who ate two or more servings per week.
The findings support a link between fast food consumption and metabolic syndrome. Researchers say that's especially concerning for our young children.
"As they hit their late teens and early 20's they'll hit pre-hypertension and pre-diabetes, and somewhere in their late 30's and early 40's, a decade earlier than their parents, we're going to see this phenom occur," Dr. Stein said.
Researchers say the findings send a clear message. That as a culture we need to do something that may be difficult- change our eating patterns.
The study found that dairy products appeared to provide some protection against metabolic syndrome.
A person is considered to have the syndrome if they have three of the following risk factors: obesity waist ratio over 35 inches for a woman and over 40 inches for a man, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of HDL, which is the good cholesterol, or high fasting glucose levels.
Doctors recommend what's called the dash diet, which can be downloaded from the National Institutes of Health web page: www.nih.gov
Finally, one surprising finding of the study was that while it did not increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, there was no evidence of a beneficial effect of consuming a diet that favored vegetables, fruit, fish and seafood and whole grain. Researchers had expected a beneficial effect based on what they had seen in other studies.
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