The southern diet (fried and sugary drinks) can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death

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Eating a diet in the south regularly can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death, while a routine of eating a Mediterranean diet can reduce that risk, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The south it is characterized by adding fats, fries, eggs, organ meats (such as liver or food), processed meats (such as sausages, bacon, and hot dogs), and sugary sugary drinks. The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and legumes and low in meat and dairy products.

“Although this study was observational in nature, the results suggest that diet may be a modifiable risk factor for sudden , and therefore diet is a risk factor over which we have some control, ”said James M. Shikany, Dr. PH, FAHA, lead author of the study and professor of medicine and associate director of research in the Division of Preventive Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Improving the diet: eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish such as the Mediterranean diet and with a small amount of fried foods, organ meats and processed meats, features of the southern-style dietary pattern, can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest , “He said.

The study examined data from more than 21,000 people aged 45 and over enrolled in an ongoing national research project called REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS), which examines geographic and racial differences in stroke. . Participants were hired between 2003 and 2007. Of the participants in this analysis, 56% were women; 33% were black adults; and 56% lived in the southeastern United States, which is notable as a region recognized as the stroke belt for its highest stroke mortality rate. The Stroke Belt states included in this study were North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

This study is the latest research to investigate the association between and diet: which foods have a positive versus negative impact on the risk of cardiovascular disease. It may be the only study conducted to date to examine the association between with the risk of sudden cardiac death, which is the sudden loss of cardiac function that leads to death within an hour after the onset of symptoms. Sudden cardiac death is a common cause of death and accounted for 1 in 7.5 deaths in the United States in 2016, or about 367,000 deaths, according to 2019 American Heart Association statistics.

The researchers included participants with or without a history of coronary heart disease at the start of the study and evaluated the diets using a food frequency questionnaire completed at the start of the study. Participants were asked how often and in what quantities they had consumed 110 different foods the previous year.

The researchers calculated a Mediterranean diet score based on specific food groups considered beneficial or harmful to health. They also derived five dietary patterns. Along with the southern-style food pattern, the analysis included a dietary pattern of “sweets,” which includes foods with added sugars, such as desserts, chocolate, sweets, and sweet foods for breakfast; a “comfort” pattern that relied on easy-to-make foods, such as combo dishes, pasta dishes, or takeaways, such as pizza, Mexican food, and Chinese food; a “plant-based” dietary pattern was classified as rich in vegetables, fruits, fruit juices, cereals, beans, fish, poultry, and yogurt; and an “alcohol and salad” dietary pattern, which depended heavily on beer, wine, liqueur, and green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and dressing.

Shikany noted that the patterns are not mutually exclusive. “All participants had some level of adherence to each pattern, but they generally adhered more to some patterns and less to others,” he explained. “For example, it would not be uncommon for a person who adheres very much to the southern pattern to also adhere to the plant pattern, but to a much lower degree.”

After an average of about ten years of follow-up every six months to check for cardiovascular disease, more than 400 sudden cardiac deaths had occurred among the 21,000 study participants.

The study found:

  • Overall, participants who ate a diet in the south had a 46% higher risk of heart death than people who had less adherence to this dietary pattern.
  • In addition, participants who followed the traditional Mediterranean diet more closely had a 26% lower risk of sudden cardiac death than those who had less adherence to this style of eating.

The American Heart Association’s diet and lifestyle recommendations emphasize eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, fish, beans, legumes, nuts, and non-tropical vegetable oils such as olive and canola oil. . It is also recommended to limit saturated fats, sodium, added sugar and processed meat. Sugars are the number one source of added sugar to the U.S. diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Heart Association supports taxes on sugary drinks to reduce their consumption. products.

“These results support the idea that a healthier diet would prevent deadly cardiovascular disease and should encourage us all to adopt a healthier diet as part of our lifestyles,” said Stephen Juraschek, MD, Ph.D. ., member of the American Heart Nutrition Committee of the Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council Association. “As much as they can, people should evaluate the number of servings of fruits and vegetables they consume each day and try to increase the number to at least 5-6 servings a day, as recommended by the American Heart Association. -9 servings a day.

“This study also raises important points about health equity, food security and the social determinants of health,” he continued. “The authors describe the ‘southern diet’ based on U.S. geography associated with this dietary pattern, although it would be a mistake to assume that it is a preferred diet. I think American society needs to look more widely why this The type of diet is more common in the south and groups of some racial, ethnic or socioeconomic groups to design interventions that can improve the quality of the diet.The gap in healthy eating among people with means and people without continue to grow in the United States, and an incredible need to understand the complex social factors that have driven and continue to perpetuate these disparities. “

This current research is extended to previous studies on participants in the same national stroke project, REGARDS. In a 2018 analysis, Shikany and colleagues reported that adults 45 and older with heart disease who had an affinity for the southern diet had a higher risk of death from any cause, while greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was related to a lower risk of death from any cause. And in one 2015 study, the southern diet was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in the same population.

The large sample of population and regional diversity, including a significant number of black participants, are considered strengths of the REGARDS research project. However, potential limitations of this study include that dietary intake was based on one-time self-reported questionnaires, so it was based on participants ’memory. The self-informed diet may include inaccuracies leading to biases that could reduce the strength of the observed associations.

A common association that remains unexplained is that among individuals with a history of heart disease, those who most adhered to the dietary candy pattern had a 51% lower risk of sudden cardiac death than participants who least followed this pattern. The researchers note that they found “no viable explanation for the inverse association of the dietary pattern of sweets at risk of sudden death in people with a history of coronary heart disease.”


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More information:
Journal of the American Heart Association (2021). DOI: 10.1161 / JAHA.120.019158

Citation: Southern diet — fried and sugary drinks — may increase the risk of sudden cardiac death (2021, June 30), recovered June 30, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-southern -dietfried-foods-sugary -drinksmay.html

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