Poor nutrition leads to development of chronic diseases

June 24, 2014 by David Ellis, University of Adelaide
Credit: Peter Häger/Public Domain

International research involving the University of Adelaide has shown for the first time that poor nutrition – including a lack of fruit, vegetables and whole grains – is associated with the development of multiple chronic diseases over time.

The results of the study, which looked at health, diet and lifestyle data of more than 1000 Chinese people over a five-year period, are published in this month's issue of the journal Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers found that the proportion of those in the study with more than one chronic disease increased from 14% to 34% over the five years.

"Risk factors such as smoking, lack of physical activity and nutrition are already known to be linked to the development of chronic disease. But this is the first research has shown that nutrition itself is directly associated with the development of multiple over time," says study co-author Dr Zumin Shi, from the University of Adelaide's School of Medicine.

"Those participants who ate more fresh fruit and , and more other than wheat and rice, had better health outcomes overall.

"Grains other than rice and wheat – such as oats, corn, sorghum, rye, barley, millet and quinoa – are less likely to be refined and are therefore likely to contain more dietary fibre. The benefits of are well known and include a reduction in , diabetes and colorectal cancer.

"Rice intake was significantly lower in the healthy group. This could be because rice is mainly refined and deprived of the benefits associated with fibres, and the kinds of phytochemicals that you find in whole grains," Dr Shi says.

He says the study highlights the role of micronutrients in protecting against disease. "A higher daily intake of iron, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B1 was associated with healthier participants," Dr Shi says.

"Based on our results, it seems that a higher intake of fruit helps to prevent against the onset of the first chronic disease, while a higher intake of vegetables helps to protect against developing more than one chronic disease.

"There is already a lot of general nutrition awareness among the population but this study reinforces the need for broad education programs about the benefits of healthy eating," Dr Shi says.

Explore further: Greater dietary fiber intake associated with lower risk of heart disease

More information: Guillaume Ruel, Zumin Shi, Shiqi Zhen, Hui Zuo, Edeltraut Kröger, Caroline Sirois, Jean-Frédéric Lévesque, Anne W. Taylor, "Association between nutrition and the evolution of multimorbidity: The importance of fruits and vegetables and whole grain products," Clinical Nutrition, Volume 33, Issue 3, June 2014, Pages 513-520, ISSN 0261-5614, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2013.07.009.

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not rated yet Jun 24, 2014
It will be interesting to see how much longer reports like this are framed in the context of evolution, because nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations were linked from climate change and dietary change to the amino acid substitution that differentiated the cell types of a modern human population that supposedly arose in what is now central China during the past ~30K years.

See for references: Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model.

What this report implies, is that the modern human population mutated into existence via natural selection that led to the evolution of their biodiversity and stability of the organized DNA in their genomes. That would mean the mice that exhibited the same changes linked to the amino acid substitution also mutated into existence, and that animal models of cell type differentiation don't extend to humans.
not rated yet Jun 24, 2014
Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model
integrated everything known about nutrient-dependent cell type differentiation at the time of its publication.

It led to submission of an invited review on nutritional epigenetics, which was rejected for publication because reviewers refused to review it. See the submission here:

Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations: from atoms to ecosystems

The rejected invited review detailed how cell type differentiation occurs via conserved molecular mechanisms in species from microbes to man. The mechanisms are still portrayed in the context of mutations, natural selection, and the evolution of biodiversity, which is obviously the result of how ecological variation enables ecological adaptations.

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