Dietary patterns can be defined as the various combinations, proportions, quantities and varieties of different foods and beverages in diets and the habitual decisions made by individuals on how frequently to consume these foods. Notably, dietary patterns include multiple dietary components that have been operationalized or summed up as a single exposure. Several studies that have been conducted on dietary patterns and habits show that it is habitually not possible to separate the individual effects of nutrients and the effects of the totality of the diet. Most studies conducted on the subject matter have used either diet indexes/scores or data-driven methods to derive dietary patterns.
However, irrespective of the method used, systematic review of the literature on dietary patterns has shown that the causes of various diet patterns and their effects change almost daily. Still, amidst all this buildup, most studies have shown that most favorable nutrition can be attained through different diet patterns, and that focus on a single dietary pattern to understand the effect on health is unnecessary.
Markedly, study after study has shown that good dietary habits have positive effects on health, unlike poor dietary patterns that are associated with long-term negative effects. Most published studies have shown an association between the magnitude of risk to diseases and dietary patterns which has been modest. The Standard American Diet (S.A.D) in combination with the sedentary lifestyle of most Americans has been blamed for increase in such conditions such as obesity, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases, type-2 diabetes, stroke, respiratory problems, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. In short, our eating habits are the main causes of our physical and mental wellness and therefore aspects such as who, what, where, when and why can be used to explain the effect of dietary patterns determines on health.
Changes in intake of protein foods, carbohydrate amount and quality, and long-term weight change: results from 3 prospective cohorts
Notably, various dietary guidelines recommend interchanging protein foods but most people habitually exchange protein foods for carbohydrate-rich foods that were varying in Glycemic load (GL). This has brought effects on the long-term weight gain of such individuals. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the relationships, experiences and consumption patterns of three prospective US cohorts comprising 120,874 man and women who were free of chronic disease and obesity at the baseline (first year). Changes in carbohydrate amount and quality were assessed among the cohorts by use of the change in GL and Glycemic Index (GI).
Changes in both the mean total GL and GI OF diet were positively related to weight gain. For instance, each 50-unit change in GL was associated with +0.42kg greater weight gain in every 4 year and 5-unit increase in GI with +0.35 kg changes in weight gain. Such findings were consistent with the idea that one's change in dietary patterns affects their health. Associations with weight gain (or weight loss) were similar to each broad category of the protein food such as red meat or nuts (Smith et al., 3).
Additionally, it was also found the concomitant changes in GL modified the relations between most protein foods and long-term weight gain, in some cases substantially. This implies that increased attention by consumers to various types of protein foods and their dietary replacements such as carbohydrate-rich foods are vital if we are to ensure long-term weight maintenance. Though most dietary changes are weakly intercorrelated and both dietary changes and weight changes are measured with some error, the findings established from this research are in harmony with the three cohorts, which represent a true biological effect of the interaction between and carbohydrates on long-term weight gain (Smith et al, 8).
Food sources of fat may clarify the inconsistent role of dietary fat intake for incidence of type 2 diabetes
According to the Centre for Disease Control, over a third of the U.S adult population is obese. There has been increased concern due to rise in diseases associated with obesity such as type-2 diabetes (T2D) as a result of negative dietary habits. This research hypothesized that some clarification of the role played by dietary fat in T2D could be provided by examining dietary fat and its food sources. Researchers aimed to prove the effect of dietary fat pattern on the health of a total of 26,930 individuals, 61% who were women. Their dietary data was collected over a 14 year follow-up using a modified dietary data.
Notably, in full multivariate analysis, it was found that there was a high inverse relationship between total intake of high-fat dairy products and with the incidence of T2D. No momentous association between total dietary fat and T2D was observed while intake of saturated fatty acids was associated with decreased risks of T2D (Ericson et al., 14). Therefore, health effects of dairy products are most likely the results of interaction between many components such as detrimental effects of serum cholesterol and their effect on microbiota composition.
Markedly, this study noted that high-fat dairy products could be part of a healthy dietary and lifestyle pattern and those people who had developed diabetes had done so because of their notion of a healthy lifestyle (low-fat intake) which could have resulted in reverse causation. Besides, meat intake is associated with an increased risk of T2D independent of fat content (Ericson et al., 15). This study shows a protective rather than destructive role of fat from dairy on T2D and the general health of those who observe such a dietary pattern.
Dietary patterns associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease in healthy US adults
It has been postulated that while combined with regular physical activity, a healthy dietary habit can help prevent conditions of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study was conducted to identify whether the complex dietary patterns of US can be classified under major dietary patterns that are related to risk factors for CVD. This involved testing of various nutrients that are considered as dietary risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Food frequency questionnaire data was used to analyze dietary patterns of participants of the third National Health and Nutrition examination survey.
There were promising results with the aim to classify the high-risk groups by the identification of common dietary patterns among the subject persons. The dietary patterns that were identified were associated with biomarkers of CVD risk which was thought to assert the great effect exerted by dietary patterns/intakes of the risk of CVD (Kever et al., 1107). This research also affirms that healthy food habits are an integral part of the large pattern of health-related characteristics and behaviors through analysis of various dietary patterns such as the American-healthy dietary pattern, Western dietary pattern, and the Mediterranean dietary pattern.
In this study, no attempt was made to surmise cause-and-effect relations, because of both the cross-sectional design of NHANES III and because the dietary patterns examined were a large part of other healthy and unhealthy habits (Kever, Jean, et al., 1110). Nonetheless, these dietary patterns were still significant biomarkers of the risk of CVD. Such outcomes support that dietary patterns affect chronic disease, and their use can guide public health recommendations for dietary prevention.
Dairy intake is associated with brain glutathione concentration in older adults
Remarkably, this pilot study became the first study to show a positive association between dairy intake and cerebral glutathione. In older adults, a reduction of glutathione, a key oxidant, with increased dairy food consumption has been noted. In the observational study, a correlation between glutathione concentration and average routine daily intakes was noted in the 60 healthy subjects of the study.
High cerebral glutathione concentrations were evident in situations of greater dairy consumptions in older adults. This is owing to the high source of substrates of glutathione synthesis in the brain from dairy foods (Choi et al., 288). Therefore, in older adults, a dairy food health pattern would affect their health by affecting their brain tissue undergoing oxidative stress in aging and neurodegeneration. In addition, by asserting the effect of dairy food diet on brain antioxidants, this research could bring about new developments on towards improving cerebral oxidant defenses and thus brain health in aging population.
Prevailing dietary habits/patterns have been associated with serious and even life-threatening health effects. From various research discussed above, we can only but validate the accuracy of this topic. However, the effects of current dietary patterns are not only negative but some positive. For instance, though all there has been is publicity around low-fat diets making us assume that fats are bad, current dietary habits have provided most people with the amounts of fats required for good health. The results of the abovementioned studies, such as the intercorrelation between fat intake and incidence of type-2 diabetes and the correlation between dairy food consumption and glutathione concentration, affirm the effect of dietary patterns on health.
Choi, In-Young, et al. "Dairy intake is associated with brain glutathione concentration in older adults." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2015): ajcn-096701.
Ericson, Ulrika, et al. "Food sources of fat may clarify the inconsistent role of dietary fat intake for incidence of type 2 diabetes." The American journal of clinical nutrition (2015): ajcn103010.
Kerver, Jean M., et al. "Dietary patterns associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease in healthy US adults." The American journal of clinical nutrition 78.6 (2013): 1103-1110.
Smith, Jessica D., et al. "Changes in intake of protein foods, carbohydrate amount and quality, and long-term weight change: results from 3 prospective cohorts." The American journal of clinical nutrition (2015): ajcn100867.