Western pattern diet

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Fast food is a typical example of food consumed in a Western pattern diet.

The Western pattern diet, also called Western dietary pattern or the meat-sweet diet, is a dietary habit chosen by many people in some developed countries, and increasingly in developing countries. It is characterized by high intakes of red meat, sugary desserts, high-fat foods, and refined grains.[1] It also typically contains high-fat dairy products, high-sugar drinks,[2] and higher intakes of processed meat.

Obesity among various developed countries

The western-versus-eastern dichotomy has become less relevant as such a diet is no longer "foreign" to any global region (just as traditional East Asian cuisine is no longer "foreign" to the west), but the term is still a well-understood shorthand in medical literature, regardless of where the diet is found. It is often contrasted with a "prudent" diet, which has higher levels of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, poultry and fish.[3] Other dietary patterns described in the medical research include "drinker" and "meat-eater" patterns.[4] Because of the variability in diets, individuals are usually classified not as simply "following" or "not following" a given diet, but instead by ranking them according to how closely their diets line up with each pattern in turn. The researchers then compare the outcomes between the group that most closely follows a given pattern to the group that least closely follows a given pattern.

Standard American Diet[edit]

The "Standard American Diet" (S.A.D.) is a similar term, specifically used to describe the stereotypical diet of Americans. The typical American diet is about 50% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 35% fat,[5] which is over the dietary guidelines for the amount of fat (below 30%), below the guidelines for carbohydrate (above 55%), and at the upper end of the guidelines for the amount of protein (below 15%) recommended in the diet.[6]

The quality of the carbohydrate, protein, and fat is at least as important as the quantity. Complex carbohydrates such as starch are believed to be more healthy than the sugar so frequently consumed in the Standard American Diet.[7][8]

The Standard American Diet is high in saturated fat, but it is estimated that for every 1% of saturated fat energy that is replaced with polyunsaturated fat there would be more than a 2-3% reduction in coronary heart disease incidence[9] And even for polyunsaturated fat, the high levels of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids in the Western diet is believed to contribute to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases as well as cancer and cardiovascular disease.[10]

A review of eating habits in the United States in 2004 found that about 75% of restaurant meals were from fast-food restaurants, where as only 1% were fine food dining restaurants. Nearly half of the meals ordered from a menu were hamburger, French fries, or poultry — and about one third of orders included a carbonated beverage drink.[11] From 1970 to 2008, the per capita consumption of calories increased by nearly one-quarter in the United States and about 10% of all calories were from high-fructose corn syrup.[12]

Health concerns[edit]

Compared to the "prudent" diet, the Western pattern diet, based on epidemiological studies of Westerners, is positively correlated with an elevated incidence of obesity,[3] death from heart disease, cancer (especially colon cancer),[4] and other "Western pattern diet"-related diseases.[7][13] Breast cancer epidemiologists have identified a "Western/Unhealthy" dietary pattern that is high in red/processed meats, refined grains, potatoes, sweets, and high-fat dairy by means of multivariate statistics methods, like principal components analysis and factor analysis; they find that, overall, women with a more Western diet have an increased risk of breast cancer that is not statistically significant.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gandey, Allison (August 17, 2007). "Diet Appears to Influence Colon Cancer Outcomes". Medscape. 
  2. ^ Halton, Thomas L; Willett, Walter C; Liu, Simin; Manson, JoAnn E; Stampfer, Meir J; Hu, Frank B (2006). "Potato and french fry consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 83 (2): 284–90. PMID 16469985. 
  3. ^ a b Fung, Teresa T; Rimm, Eric B; Spiegelman, Donna; Rifai, Nader; Tofler, Geoffrey H; Willett, Walter C; Hu, Frank B (2001-01-01). "Association between dietary patterns and plasma biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular disease risk". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 73 (1): 61–7. PMID 11124751. 
  4. ^ a b Kesse, E; Clavel-Chapelon, F; Boutron-Ruault, M. (2006). "Dietary Patterns and Risk of Colorectal Tumors: A Cohort of French Women of the National Education System (E3N)". American Journal of Epidemiology 164 (11): 1085–93. doi:10.1093/aje/kwj324. PMC 2175071. PMID 16990408. 
  5. ^ Last, Allen R.; Wilson, Stephen A. (2006). "Low-Carbohydrate Diets". American Family Physician 73 (11): 1942–8. PMID 16770923. 
  6. ^ Layman, Donald K.; Boileau, Richard A.; Erickson, Donna J.; Painter, James E.; Shiue, Harn; Sather, Carl; Christou, Demtra D. (2003). "A Reduced Ratio of Dietary Carbohydrate to Protein Improves Body Composition and Blood Lipid Profiles during Weight Loss in Adult Women". The Journal of Nutrition 133 (2): 411–7. PMID 12566476. 
  7. ^ a b Gary Taubes, Is Sugar Toxic?, The New York Times, April 13, 2011
  8. ^ Murtagh-Mark, Carol M.; Reiser, Karen M.; Harris, Robert; McDonald, Roger B. (1995). "Source of Dietary Carbohydrate Affects Life Span of Fischer 344 Rats Independent of Caloric Restriction". The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 50A (3): B148–54. doi:10.1093/gerona/50A.3.B148. PMID 7743394. 
  9. ^ Astrup, Arne; Dyerberg, Jørn; Elwood, Peter; Hermansen, Kjeld; Hu, Frank B; Jakobsen, Marianne Uhre; Kok, Frans J; Krauss, Ronald M; et al. (2011). "The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: Where does the evidence stand in 2010?". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 93 (4): 684–8. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.004622. PMC 3138219. PMID 21270379. 
  10. ^ Simopoulos, Artemis P. (2008). "The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases". Experimental Biology and Medicine 233 (6): 674–88. doi:10.3181/0711-MR-311. PMID 18408140. 
  11. ^ Lobb, Annelena (September 17, 2005). "Eating Habits -- A Look At the Average U.S. Diet". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  12. ^ Philpott, Tom (April 5, 2011). "The American diet in one chart, with lots of fats and sugars". Industrial Agriculture. Grist. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  13. ^ Heidemann, C.; Schulze, M. B.; Franco, O. H.; Van Dam, R. M.; Mantzoros, C. S.; Hu, F. B. (2008). "Dietary Patterns and Risk of Mortality from Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and All Causes in a Prospective Cohort of Women". Circulation 118 (3): 230–7. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.771881. PMC 2748772. PMID 18574045. 
  14. ^ Brennan, S. F.; Cantwell, M. M.; Cardwell, C. R.; Velentzis, L. S.; Woodside, J. V. (10 March 2010). "Dietary patterns and breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91 (5): 1294–1302. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28796. PMID 20219961. 

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