What's the new direction in nutrition research? If you've been reading this blog, you know it's Dietary Pattern Analysis. Instead of investigating the effects of one food or nutrient, pattern analysis reveals effects of the whole diet.
Single nutrient analysis is still relevant. It's useful for sorting out mechanisms. But people don't eat single nutrients. Any effect one food has gets muddied in the cacophony of dietary inputs.
A study in this month's issue of The Journal of Nutrition...
Diet Index-Based and Empirically Derived Dietary Patterns Are Associated with Colorectal Cancer Risk, The Journal of Nutrition, July 2010
... employed pattern analysis to ascertain a link between diet and colon cancer.
It found that a "fruit and vegetable" pattern was beneficial; it was associated with a decreased risk for colon cancer. This pattern was characterized by intake of "fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds."
"Our findings support a protective effect for both men and women of a largely plant-based dietary pattern."
It found that a "meat & potatoes" pattern was deleterious; it was associated with an increased risk for colon cancer (more so for women).
"Meat & potatoes" is just a name that describes a particular style of eating. It doesn't necessarily have to contain meat or potatoes as long as it's high in fat and sugar. (Maybe we could call it the "Wate-On Dietary Pattern.")
"This pattern, which has previously been labeled Western, meat and potatoes, or a close variant, has been characterized most often by greater intakes of red and processed meat, fried and white potatoes, fast food, pizza, high-fat dairy products, desserts, refined grain products, and other high-fat and high-sugar food items."Other items included "sweets, salty snacks, butter, mayonnaise, and gravy."
Colon cancer is linked to diabetes and heart disease. Just how remains the question. From my previous post, Colon Cancer, Its Link To Diabetes, And Dietary Pattern:
As to the link between colon cancer and diabetes, the authors said, "many of the dietary risk factors associated with colon cancer may reflect the effect of hyperinsulinemia." And high insulin may, in turn, reflect a certain pattern of eating:
"... the characteristically low polyunsaturated/saturated fat ratio from a higher red meat intake contributed to insulin resistance1, while the low intake of legumes, a food of characteristically low glycemic response, contributed to a heavier glycemic load."
Paintings by Craig Stephens. "On this blog I have posted 1000 paintings in as many days."