A diet high in vegetables, nuts, fish, dairy, legumes, fruit and red meat helps to lower mortality and cardiovascular events, according to new data.
The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study team recently revealed their healthy diet score at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2018.
The PURE diet recommends high fat intake, including saturated fat, to improve health. While this type of low carb, high fat diet goes against current dietary guidelines, the researchers behind PURE have since called for UK guidelines to change.
The PURE diet score is calculated by adding up the values for their seven foods recommended with 7 being the least healthy and 35 the most.
It has not been developed with people with diabetes specifically in mind, and those with diabetes or insulin resistance may therefore need to be more cautious with higher carbohydrate foods such as starchy vegetables, legumes and fruit. Many people with diabetes find blood sugar levels easier to control by eliminating these foods.
The researchers have validated the score in three independent study databases – one trial in patients with heart disease called ONTARGET and two studies in healthy individuals called INTERHEART and INTERSTROKE.
“There is consistency across four international studies using different designs involving 218,000 people from 50 countries,” said PURE investigator Andrew Mente, PhD in an interview with Medscape Cardiology.
“Our advice is not so different from other guidelines on the balance of fat, carbohydrate, and protein that should make up the diet, other than we advocate a modest amount of saturated fat. But our score is not based on nutrients. It is based on foods. You don’t go into a restaurant and order a specific amount of fat or protein. You order specific foods.”
Last year the PURE team observed that total fat, saturated and unsaturated fat intakes were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction or mortality. These findings remained even after results were adjusted for age, sex and diabetes, among other health markers.
The ongoing PURE study is assessing the link between diet and mortality plus various health outcomes in 138,000 people worldwide. It is one of the longest comprehensive studies of diet and health to date.
Editor’s note: At Diabetes.co.uk we too affirm that healthy sources of saturated fat are to be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. For more information visit our multiple-award-winning Low Carb Program.

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