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Curr Nutr Rep. 2013 Jun;2(2):97-104.

Empirically-derived dietary patterns, diet quality scores, and markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.


Atherosclerosis is one of the most important contributors to the global burden of cardiovascular diseases. With the recognition of atherosclerosis as an inflammatory disease, nutrition research interest has expanded towards the role of dietary patterns in the prevention of atherosclerosis primarily focused on associations with early inflammatory markers. This review summarizes the latest evidence from January 2010 until January 2013 of eight observational studies on the associations between empirically-derived dietary patterns and diet quality scores with markers of inflammation and endothelial function. Overall, results of recently published cohort studies support those of previously published cross-sectional studies suggesting that consuming a healthy type of diet characteristically abundant in fruits and vegetables is associated with lower concentrations of C-reactive protein and other inflammatory markers. Unfavourable associations were found between eating a Western dietary pattern high in meat and inflammatory markers. Different statistical approaches of deriving dietary patterns were applied in these studies and most of them lacked in reporting absolute intakes of foods and/or food groups. Future prospective cohort studies are needed to evaluate long-term associations between dietary patterns and changes in inflammatory markers by comparing various approaches of dietary pattern derivation within a population. Reporting absolute intakes of foods and/or food groups may also facilitate the identification of a typical dietary pattern that may beneficially influence inflammation.


Dietary patterns; atherosclerosis; cluster analysis; diet quality; epidemiology; factor analysis; inflammation; reduced rank regression

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