The diet secret that can help you avoid a premature death

Hands of a girl putting freshly harvested vegetable in a basket
Four diets can help people avoid a premature death, scientists have said. (Getty Images)

Four diets with key similarities can help people avoid a premature death, researchers have revealed.

People who scored highly for adhering to one of the dietary pattern indexes – Healthy Eating Index 2015, Alternate Mediterranean Diet, Healthful Plant-based Diet Index, and Alternate Healthy Eating Index – are less likely to die, scientists said.

The four diets all share key components including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, although they differ in other respects.

The findings, by US scientists at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, were based on data from a large numbers of participants over decades.

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And the results are consistent with the US government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends multiple healthy eating patterns.

Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology, said: "The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are intended to provide science-based dietary advice that promotes good health and reduces major chronic diseases.

"Thus, it is critical to examine the associations between DGAs-recommended dietary patterns and long-term health outcomes, especially mortality.

"Our findings will be valuable for the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which is being formed to evaluate current evidence surrounding different eating patterns and health outcomes."

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The Harvard researchers used health data collected over 36 years from 75,230 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study and 44,085 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

All participants were free of cardiovascular disease or cancer at the beginning of the study and completed dietary questionnaires every four years.

A higher score on at least one of the indexes was associated with a lower risk of premature death from all causes, and from cardiovascular disease, cancer and respiratory disease.

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