This diet calls for consumption of nuts and fruits to more than double

A study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition assessed the impact of adherence to the Planetary Health Diet (PHD) on total and cause-specific mortality in three cohorts of men and women in the United States.

Proposed by the EAT-Lancet Commission in 2019, the PHD is a healthy dietary pattern that could feed the growing global population sustainably while also reducing food waste and improving agricultural practices. The PHD calls for consumption of nuts and fruits, among other plant-based foods, to more than double.

In the new study, researchers followed a cohort of 66,692 women from 1986 to 2019, another cohort of 92,438 women from 1989 to 2019, and a cohort of 47,274 men from 1986 to 2018, amounting to more than 206,000 people. All participants were free of cancer, diabetes and major cardiovascular diseases at baseline. Adherence to the PHD was calculated every four years using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire.

The findings showed that greater adherence to the PHD was associated with a lower risk of death from major diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Compared with participants in the lowest quintile of adherence, those in the highest quintile had a 23% lower risk of all-cause mortality, as well as a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, a 10% lower risk of cancer mortality and a 47% lower risk of respiratory disease mortality. In women, top-quintile adherence to the PHD was also associated with a 38% lower risk of death from infectious diseases. Adherence scores were also inversely associated with greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts.

Bui, L. P., Pham, T. T., Wang, F., Chai, B., Sun, Q., Hu, F. B., … & Willett, W. C. (2024). Planetary Health Diet Index and risk of total and cause-specific mortality in three prospective cohorts. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 120(1), 80–91.

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