I recently came across this study titled "Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities". It was published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Here is the abstract:
To identify protective dietary predictors amongst long-lived elderly people (N= 785), the "Food Habits in Later Life "(FHILL) study was undertaken among five cohorts in Japan, Sweden, Greece and Australia. Between 1988 and 1991, baseline data on food intakes were collected. There were 785 participants aged 70 and over that were followed up to seven years. Based on an alternative Cox Proportional Hazard model adjusted to age at enrollment (in 5-year intervals), gender and smoking, the legume food group showed 7-8% reduction in mortality hazard ratio for every 20g increase in daily intake with or without controlling for ethnicity (RR 0.92; 95% CI 0.85-0.99 and RR 0.93; 95% CI 0.87-0.99, respectively). Other food groups were not found to be consistently significant in predicting survival amongst the FHILL cohorts.
And here is the study's conclusion:
The FHILL longitudinal study shows that a higher legume intake is the most protective dietary predictor of survival amongst the elderly, regardless of their ethnicity. The significance of legumes persisted even after controlling for age at enrolment (in 5-year intervals), gender, and smoking. Legumes have been associated with long-lived food cultures such as the Japanese (soy, tofu, natto, miso), the Swedes (brown beans, peas), and the Mediterranean people (lentils, chickpeas, white beans).
In light of this, how can legumes be considered such a bad food?
asked byLevi_3 (159)
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on December 12, 2012
at 01:30 PM
Maybe this has something to do with the fact that if your diet includes large amounts of legumes then you're going to likely have less grains? They're both carbs, and who eats lentils with their bread? Or lentils with their pasta?
on December 12, 2012
at 03:48 AM
There are some important methodological points to consider.
- Selection bias: They started out with people over 70 and there is no reason to think that that groups has the same spectrum of health and disease as the normal population. (This is a general problem with cohort studies.)
- Correlation is not causation: This doesn't prove that legumes are good for you. It just says that consuming legumes "is associated with" which doesn't tell you directly about the relationship between legumes and "health". A "dose-response" relationship is meaningless in an observational study such as this.
- Those confidence intervals nearly include one. Unless they were really careful about always carrying two significant figures in all their calculation the confidence intervals for the relative risks include one. If they included one, it would mean that statistically there is no effect.