February 01, 2011
Fruits And Vegetables Lower Heart Risk

People who eat lots of fruits and vegetables get fewer heart attacks. In other breaking news dog bites postman and sun comes up in east.

A European study investigating the links between diet and disease has found that people who consume more fruit and vegetables have a lower risk of dying from ischaemic heart disease the most common form of heart disease and one of the leading causes of death in Europe. However, the authors point out that a higher fruit and vegetable intake occurs among people with other healthy eating habits and lifestyles, and that these factors could also be associated with the lower risk of dying from IHD. The study is published online today (Wednesday 19 January) in the European Heart Journal [1].

Data analysed from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Heart study has shown that people who ate at least eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day had a 22% lower risk of dying from IHD than did those who consumed fewer than three portions a day. A portion weighed 80 grams, equal to a small banana, a medium apple, or a small carrot.

What is behind this? Could be good stuff in the fruits and vegetables. But could be the absence of bad stuff in same. Think of it this way: If you eat huge amounts of cauliflower and apples you are left with less room in your stomach for, say, refined grains and sugar.

Munch your way to heart safety.

Dr Francesca Crowe of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, UK, and the first author of the paper by the EPIC study collaborators, said: "This study involved over 300,000 people in eight different European countries, with 1,636 deaths from IHD. It shows a 4% reduced risk of dying from IHD for each additional portion of fruit and vegetables consumed above the lowest intake of two portions. In other words, the risk of a fatal IHD for someone eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day would be 4% lower compared to someone consuming four portions a day, and so on up to eight portions or more."

I'd be very curious whether fruits and vegetables still provide protection when people aren't obese and have high insulin sensitivity.

On a related note, Stephan Guyenet takes a skeptical look at the hypothesis that saturated fat is a heart risk.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 February 01 09:36 PM  Aging Diet Heart Studies

Bruce said at February 2, 2011 10:04 AM:

1) Its a survey. People lie on surveys.

2) What else did they eat? Steak, Tofu burgers, olive oil, butter?

cancer_man said at February 2, 2011 7:38 PM:

This study means almost nothing. It shouldnt have been released because oft heir inability to control for other healthy lifestyle choices. because of this conflation, it is probably a decent assumption that the benefit is much less than the 22% decrease reported.

BioBob said at February 2, 2011 9:36 PM:

lol - and the 4% mentioned in the second quote is likely less than 1 standard error making it equal to statistical noise.

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