Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of heart failure in adults without known heart disease, while Southern diets consisting of more fried and processed foods and sweetened drinks are associated with greater risk, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that looked at the association between five dietary patterns and risk of heart failure.
Heart failure affects more than 5.7 million adults and that number is expect to rise. Heart failure prevention strategies currently emphasize quitting smoking; so managing high blood pressure and maintaining a healthy diet and weight to prevent heart disease; but research is limit on dietary patterns and incident heart failure in patients without heart disease.
Five major dietary patterns
Researchers in this study looked at five major dietary patterns that were identified within the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS); so study population and examine the association between those patterns and incident heart failure hospitalizations in REGARDS participants without know heart disease or heart failure at baseline. Within the REGARDS study; so researchers narrow their sample size to 16,608 black and white adults age 45 years old and older.
Participants were send a 150-question survey base on 107 food items; hence which are categorize into the five pre determine diets: “Convenience” (heavily meat dishes, pasta, Mexican dishes, pizza and fast food), “Plant-based” (vegetables, fruit, beans and fish), “Sweets/fats” (heavy on desserts, bread, sweet breakfast foods, chocolate and other sugar).
“Southern” (heavy on fried food, process meats, eggs; so add fats and sugar-sweeten beverages); so “Alcohol / salads” (heavy on wine, liquor, beer, leafy greens and salad dressing). After 8.7 years of follow up on average; hence there were 363 new heart failure hospitalizations. Researchers saw a 41% lower risk of new heart failure hospitalization for participants; hence who were most adherent to the plant-base diet; so compare to the least adherent.
Remaining dietary patterns
Researchers found no statistically significant associations among the remaining dietary patterns and risk of heart failure. Researchers also look at incident heart failure stratify by heart failure subgroups. There were 133 cases of heart failure with preserve ejection fraction and 157 cases of heart failure with reduce ejection fraction. Researchers found no significant differences in associations with heart failure by ejection fraction with any of the dietary patterns.
These findings support a population-base dietary strategy for lowering the risk of incident heart failure. One of the study’s major strengths was the large; diverse sample size that include people from all demographics and socioeconomic backgrounds. Limitations include potential misclassifications from inaccurate dietary intake reporting.
Since diet was only assess at the beginning of the study; so dietary changes may have occur after the initial assessment. In a relate editorial comment, Dong Wang, ScD, MD, a research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; hence says heart failure prevention be prioritize considering how difficult it is to treat; so the severe debility heart failure patients experience and the high cost of heart failure care.