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Systematic Review Question

What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed and risk of cardiovascular disease?

Conclusion Statement

Dietary Patterns: Children 

  • Limited evidence suggests that dietary patterns consumed by children and adolescents reflecting higher intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy, legumes, and lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, other sweets, and processed meat, are associated with lower blood pressure and blood lipid levels, including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides later in life. (Grade: Limited)

Dietary Patterns: Adults

  • The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee conducted a systematic evidence scan and confirmed that the conclusion drawn by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee generally reflects the current state of science: Strong and consistent evidence demonstrates that dietary patterns associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease are characterized by higher consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and seafood, and lower consumption of red and processed meat, and lower intakes of refined grains, and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages relative to less healthy patterns. Regular consumption of nuts and legumes and moderate consumption of alcohol also are shown to be components of a beneficial dietary pattern in most studies. Randomized dietary intervention studies have demonstrated that healthy dietary patterns exert clinically meaningful impact on cardiovascular risk factors, including blood lipids and blood pressure. Additionally, research that includes specific nutrients in their description of dietary patterns indicate that patterns that are lower in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium and richer in fiber, potassium, and unsaturated fats are beneficial for reducing cardiovascular disease risk. (2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Grade: Strong)

Diets Based on Macronutrient Distribution: Children

  • No evidence was available to determine the relationship between diets based on macronutrient distribution consumed by children or adolescents and concurrent or future development of cardiovascular disease. (Grade: Grade Not Assignable)

Diets Based on Macronutrient Distribution: Adults 

  • Limited evidence suggests non-energy restricted diets based solely on macronutrient distribution with either carbohydrate, fat, and/or protein proportions outside of the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range, are neither beneficial nor detrimental regarding risk of cardiovascular disease in adults, primarily among those at high-risk, such as those with overweight, obesity or features of metabolic syndrome. (Grade: Limited)