The leading causes of death have shifted from infectious diseases to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. These illnesses may be affected by diet.
In a study published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers investigated empirical data regarding the associations of dietary patterns with mortality through analysis of the eating patterns of over 2500 adults between the ages of 70 and 79 over a ten-year period.
They found that diets favouring certain foods were associated with reduced mortality.
"Healthy foods" (374 participants)
"High-fat dairy products" (332)
"Meat, fried foods, and alcohol" (693)
"Breakfast cereal" (386)
"Refined grains" (458)
"Sweets and desserts" (339).
The "Healthy foods" cluster was characterised by relatively higher intake of low-fat dairy products, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables, and lower consumption of meat, fried foods, sweets, high-kj drinks, and added fat.
The "High fat dairy products" cluster had higher intake of foods such as ice cream, cheese, and 2% and whole milk and yogurt, and lower intake of poultry, low-fat dairy products, rice, and pasta.