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Schröder H, Vila J, Marrugat J, Covas MI

Low energy density diets are associated with favorable nutrient intake profile and adequacy in free-living elderly men and women.

J. Nutr.. 2008 Aug;138(8):1476-81, PMID: 18641194

Nutrient adequacy in the diet is of paramount importance to physical and mental health. The aim of this study was to characterize the dietary pattern associated with a low energy density diet and determine its nutrient adequacy in elderly men and women. The subjects were men (n = 1150) and women (n = 1094) >65 y, examined in 2 population-based cross-sectional surveys (2000 and 2005) in northeast Spain (Girona). Dietary data were recorded using a 165-item FFQ. Reduced rank regression (RRR) analysis was used to identify an energy density-associated dietary pattern. A nutrient adequacy score (NAS) and Mediterranean diet score (MDS) were computed to estimate the association of diet adequacy with energy density. The RRR-derived factor (dietary pattern) predicted 75.4% of the variance in energy density of the diet. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, cooked potatoes, and low-fat milk and yogurt were key to the low energy density of the diet. Higher proportions of men and women consuming low energy density diets met dietary recommendations for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, total fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folate, calcium, and magnesium than their peers on high energy density diets. Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed an inverse association (P < 0.001) of the NAS and MDS with energy density and energy density-related patterns. A low energy density diet has a higher capacity to prevent nutrient deficiency, despite lower energy content, than a high energy density diet in the elderly population studied.


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