A diet with poor nutritional quality, such as one with red and processed meat, is associated with higher mortality from all causes, compared with a diet containing healthful foods, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. Researchers tracked the diets of more than 500,000 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort and scored nutritional quality. Foods with lower nutritional value such as red and processed meat received high scores when compared to foods with higher nutritional value such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Those with the highest scores were at greater risk for death from all causes, as well as cancer and diseases of the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems when compared to those with the lowest scores. The authors note strong associations with saturated fat found in animal products and respiratory conditions that could be prevented with increased intake of fiber from plant foods.
Deschasaux M, Huybrechts I, Julia C, et al. Association between nutritional profiles of foods underlying Nutri-Score front-of-pack labels and mortality: EPIC cohort study in 10 European countries. BMJ. 2020;370:m3173-m3186.