A study using a new statistical method examined the impact of the pattern of 49 food groups and their correlation with the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) in 455 German women.
• The food group that best predicted a lower CAD risk was vegetarian dishes.
• The 20% of subjects with a high risk of CAD averaged only about 1 vegetarian dish every 10 days.
• The lowest-CAD-risk subjects averaged 3 vegetarian dishes a day.
• The 20% who were most likely to have the greatest CAD risk consumed more than twice as much red meat, processed meats and poultry as the low-risk group.
• The high-CAD-risk group consumed only about one-third as much whole-grain cereal and museli as the low-risk group.
• Those at highest risk consumed fewer cooked and raw vegetables than the lowest-risk group.
• The women with the greatest risk of CAD consumed more than twice the margarine and other fats and oils (except olive oil) as those in the lowest-risk group.
• The low-CAD-risk women averaged about 4 oz of wine per day, while the high-CAD-risk women consumed little or no wine.
• The high-CAD-risk women consumed more than twice as much sauce. Sauces included ketchup, brown and white sauces, salad dressings and sauces used on vegetables (e.g., hollandaise).
The authors conclude: “This study showed a diet high in vegetarian dishes, wine, vegetables, and whole-grain cereals and low in meat, margarine, poultry, and sauce is associated with a more favorable biomarker profile and a reduced risk of CAD. Together with other available evidence, these results can be used when developing dietary recommendations to prevent premature cardiovascular disease.”1 Simply put, a diet low in meat and fatty foods but much higher in whole grains, beans, vegetables and perhaps a modest amount of wine is likely best for preventing CAD in women as well as men.
By James Kenney, PhD, RD, LD, FACN
1 Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:633-40
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.