Nordic diet, Mediterranean diet, and the risk of chronic diseases: the EPIC-Potsdam study.
BACKGROUND:The Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) has been acknowledged as a healthy diet. However, its relation with risk of major chronic diseases in non-Mediterranean countries is inconclusive. The Nordic diet is proposed as an alternative across Northern Europe, although its associations with the risk of chronic diseases remain controversial. We aimed to investigate the association between the Nordic diet and the MedDiet with the risk of chronic disease (type 2 diabetes (T2D), myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and cancer) in the EPIC-Potsdam cohort. METHODS:The EPIC-Potsdam cohort recruited 27,548 participants between 1994 and 1998. After exclusion of prevalent cases, we evaluated baseline adherence to a score reflecting the Nordic diet and two MedDiet scores (tMDS, reflecting the traditional MedDiet score, and the MedPyr score, reflecting the MedDiet Pyramid). Cox regression models were applied to examine the association between the diet scores and the incidence of major chronic diseases. RESULTS:During a follow-up of 10.6 years, 1376 cases of T2D, 312 of MI, 321 of stroke, and 1618 of cancer were identified. The Nordic diet showed a statistically non-significant inverse association with incidence of MI in the overall population and of stroke in men. Adherence to the MedDiet was associated with lower incidence of T2D (HR per 1 SD 0.93, 95% CI 0.88-0.98 for the tMDS score and 0.92, 0.87-0.97 for the MedPyr score). In women, the MedPyr score was also inversely associated with MI. No association was observed for any of the scores with cancer. CONCLUSIONS:In the EPIC-Potsdam cohort, the Nordic diet showed a possible beneficial effect on MI in the overall population and for stroke in men, while both scores reflecting the MedDiet conferred lower risk of T2D in the overall population and of MI in women.