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.
Monsivais P., Scarborough P., Lloyd T., Mizdrak A., Luben R., Mulligan AA., Wareham NJ., Woodcock J.
BACKGROUND: 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). OBJECTIVE: 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. DESIGN: 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. RESULTS: 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). CONCLUSIONS: 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.