Abstract

BACKGROUND: Shorter telomere length (TL) is associated with risk of several age-related diseases and decreased life span, but the extent to which dietary patterns and practices associate with TL is uncertain. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the association of dietary patterns and practices and leucocyte TL (LTL). DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional study. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: Data collected voluntarily from up to 422,797 UK Biobank participants, during 2006-2010. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: LTL was measured as a ratio of the telomere repeat number to a single-copy gene and was loge-transformed and standardized (z-LTL). STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Adherence a priori to a Mediterranean-style diet was assessed through the MedDietScore. Principal component analysis was used to a posteriori extract the "Meat" and "Prudent" dietary patterns. Additional dietary practices considered were the self-reported adherence to "Vegetarian" diet, "Eating 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables" and "Abstaining from eggs/dairy/wheat/sugar." Associations between quintiles of dietary patterns or adherence to dietary practices with z-LTL were investigated through multivariable linear regression models (adjusted for demographic, lifestyle, and clinical characteristics). RESULTS: Adherence to the "Mediterranean" and the "Prudent" patterns, was positively associated with LTL, with an effect magnitude in z-LTL of 0.020 SD and 0.014 SD, respectively, for the highest vs the lowest quintile of adherence to the pattern (both P values < 0.05). Conversely, a reversed association between quintile of the "Meat" pattern and LTL was observed, with z-LTL being on average shorter by 0.025 SD (P = 6.12×10-05) for participants in the highest quintile of the pattern compared with the lowest quintile. For adherents to "5-a-day" z-LTL was on average longer by 0.027 SD (P = 5.36×10-09), and for "abstainers," LTL was shorter by 0.016 SD (P = 2.51×10-04). The association of LTL with a vegetarian diet was nonsignificant after adjustment for demographic, lifestyle, and clinical characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: Several dietary patterns and practices associated with beneficial health effects are significantly associated with longer LTL. However, the magnitude of the association was small, and any clinical relevance is uncertain.

DOI

10.1016/j.jand.2023.01.008

Publication Date

2023-06-01

Publication Title

Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Volume

123

Issue

6

First Page

912

Last Page

9.22E+28

ISSN

2212-2672

Embargo Period

2024-01-16

Organisational Unit

Peninsula Medical School

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