American dishes that can harm your health
A new study published in the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine shows that a “Western-style” diet of food that is fried, processed and full of high-fat dairy products may prevent you from reaching a healthy old-age.
Researchers analyzed results from a large study, which followed 5,350 participants, and determined their adherence to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI). The AHEI is widely known as the dietary guidelines developed by Harvard University, that promotes healthy food choices over those that Americans typically consume. Researchers found that among the participants, those with “low adherence to the AHEI increased their risk of cardiovascular and noncardiovascular death.”
“Our bodies are not designed to handle those kinds of processed foods,” says Mary Carroll, a registered dietitian with Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “It’s like putting regular gasoline in a commercial airliner. When you eat ‘Western-style’ foods and don’t exercise, your sleep patterns are disrupted, you are fatigued, and your chances of depression, diabetes and other chronic diseases increase. So even if you live into older age on a typical American diet, your quality of life may be diminished.”
Lead investigator in the study, Tasnime Akbaraly, PhD, states, “Following specific dietary recommendations, such as those provided by the AHEI may be useful in reducing the risk of unhealthy aging, while avoidance of the ‘Western-type foods’ might improve the possibility of achieving older ages free of chronic diseases and remaining highly functional.”
Carroll adds a final warning, “You are exactly what you eat. If you don’t fuel your body properly, it will not run properly.”
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.