BACKGROUND: The importance of a healthy diet in relation to cardiovascular health promotion is widely recognized. Identifying specific dietary patterns related to early atherosclerosis would contribute greatly to inform effective primary prevention strategies.
OBJECTIVES: This study sought to quantify the association between specific dietary patterns and presence and extent of subclinical atherosclerosis in a population of asymptomatic middle-aged adults.
METHODS: The PESA (Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis) study enrolled 4,082 asymptomatic participants 40 to 54 years of age (mean age 45.8 years; 63% male) to evaluate the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis in multiple vascular territories. A fundamental objective of this cohort study was to evaluate the life-style-related determinants, including diet, on atherosclerosis onset and development. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data, including detailed information on dietary habits obtained as part of the overall life-style and risk factor assessment, as well as a complete vascular imaging study that was performed blinded to the clinical information.
RESULTS: Most PESA participants follow a Mediterranean (40% of participants) or a Western (41%) dietary pattern. A new pattern, identified among 19% of participants, was labeled as a social-business eating pattern, characterized by a high consumption of red meat, pre-made foods, snacks, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages and frequent eating-out behavior. Participants following this pattern presented a significantly worse cardiovascular risk profile and, after adjustment for risk factors, increased odds of presenting subclinical atherosclerosis (odds ratio: 1.31; 95% confidence interval: 1.06 to 1.63) compared with participants following a Mediterranean diet.
CONCLUSIONS: A new social-business eating pattern, characterized by high consumption of red and processed meat, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages, and by frequent snacking and eating out as part of an overall unhealthy life-style, is associated with an increased prevalence, burden, and multisite presence of subclinical atherosclerosis. (Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis [PESA]; NCT01410318).
- Asymptomatic Diseases
- Cross-Sectional Studies
- Feeding Behavior
- Follow-Up Studies
- Life Style
- Middle Aged
- Primary Prevention/methods
- Prospective Studies
- Risk Factors
- Time Factors