Food and Behaviour Research

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Unhealthy foods may attenuate the beneficial relation of a Mediterranean diet to cognitive decline

Agarwal P, Dhana K, Barnes L, Holland T, Zhang Y, Evans D, Morris M (2021) Alzheimer's and Dementia DOI: 10.1002/alz.12277  

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Abstract:

Introduction

It is unclear whether eating Western diet food components offsets the Mediterranean diet's (MedDiet) potential benefits on cognitive decline.

Methods

The study includes 5001 Chicago Health and Aging Project participants (63% African American, 36% males, 74 ± 6.0 years old), with food frequency questionnaires and ≥ two cognitive assessments over 6.3 ± 2.8 years of follow‐up. Mixed‐effects models were adjusted for age, sex, education, race, cognitive activities, physical activity, and total calories.

Results

Stratified analysis showed a significant effect of higher MedDiet on cognitive decline only with a low Western diet score (highest vs lowest MedDiet tertile: β = 0.020, P = .002; p trend = 0.002) and not with a high Western diet score (highest vs lowest MedDiet tertile: β = 0.010, P = .11; p trend = 0.09).

Conclusion

This prospective study found that high consumption of Western diet components attenuates benefits of the MedDiet on cognition.

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