Greater accordance with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension dietary pattern is associated with lower diet-related greenhouse gas production but higher dietary costs in the United Kingdom.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2014 ; 102: 138-45.
DOI : 10.3945/ajcn.114.090639
PubMed ID : 25926505
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is a proven way to prevent and control hypertension and other chronic disease. Because the DASH diet emphasizes plant-based foods, including vegetables and grains, adhering to this diet might also bring about environmental benefits, including lower associated production of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
The objective was to examine the interrelation between dietary accordance with the DASH diet and associated GHGs. A secondary aim was to examine the retail cost of diets by level of DASH accordance.
In this cross-sectional study of adults aged 39-79 y from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Norfolk, United Kingdom cohort (n = 24,293), dietary intakes estimated from food-frequency questionnaires were analyzed for their accordance with the 8 DASH food and nutrient-based targets. Associations between DASH accordance, GHGs, and dietary costs were evaluated in regression analyses. Dietary GHGs were estimated with United Kingdom-specific data on carbon dioxide equivalents associated with commodities and foods. Dietary costs were estimated by using national food prices from a United Kingdom-based supermarket comparison website.
Greater accordance with the DASH dietary targets was associated with lower GHGs. Diets in the highest quintile of accordance had a GHG impact of 5.60 compared with 6.71 kg carbon dioxide equivalents/d for least-accordant diets (P < 0.0001). Among the DASH food groups, GHGs were most strongly and positively associated with meat consumption and negatively with whole-grain consumption. In addition, higher accordance with the DASH diet was associated with higher dietary costs, with the mean cost of diets in the top quintile of DASH scores 18% higher than that of diets in the lowest quintile (P < 0.0001).
Promoting wider uptake of the DASH diet in the United Kingdom may improve population health and reduce diet-related GHGs. However, to make the DASH diet more accessible, food affordability, particularly for lower income groups, will have to be addressed.