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Adv Nutr. 2019 Jan 5. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmy071. [Epub ahead of print]

Perspective: The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII)-Lessons Learned, Improvements Made, and Future Directions.

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Cancer Prevention and Control Program.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health.
College of Nursing, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.


The literature on the role of inflammation in health has grown exponentially over the past several decades. Paralleling this growth has been an equally intense focus on the role of diet in modulating inflammation, with a doubling in the size of the literature approximately every 4 y. The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) was developed to provide a quantitative means for assessing the role of diet in relation to health outcomes ranging from blood concentrations of inflammatory cytokines to chronic diseases. Based on literature from a variety of different study designs ranging from cell culture to observational and experimental studies in humans, the DII was designed to be universally applicable across all human studies with adequate dietary assessment. Over the past 4 y, the DII has been used in >200 studies and forms the basis for 12 meta-analyses. In the process of conducting this work, lessons were learned with regard to methodologic issues related to total energy and nutrient intake and energy and nutrient densities. Accordingly, refinements to the original algorithm have been made. In this article we discuss these improvements and observations that we made with regard to misuse and misinterpretation of the DII and provide suggestions for future developments.


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