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Conrad Z, Karlsen M, Chui K, Jahns L. Diet quality on meatless days: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2007-2012. Public Health Nutr. 2017 Mar 8:1-10. doi: 10.1017/S136898001700026X. [Epub ahead of print]
OBJECTIVE:To compare diet quality scores between adult non-meat eaters and meat eaters, and to compare the consumption of diet components across quintiles of diet quality.
DESIGN:Cross-sectional analysis. The Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) and Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010) were used to assess mean diet quality. Differences in consumption of diet components between quintiles of diet quality were tested using post hoc Wald tests and z tests.
SETTING: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2007-2012.
SUBJECTS:The sample consisted of 16810 respondents aged≥18 years, including 280 individuals who reported not consuming meat, poultry, game birds or seafood on two non-consecutive days of dietary recall. Dietary data were obtained from one dietary recall per individual.
RESULTS:Non-meat eaters had substantially greater HEI-2010 and AHEI-2010 scores than meat eaters (P<0·05). Among non-meat eaters, mean consumption across HEI-2010 quintiles demonstrated different (P<0·05) amounts of empty calories and unsaturated:saturated fatty acids. Mean consumption across AHEI-2010 quintiles demonstrated different (P<0·05) amounts of nuts and legumes, vegetables and PUFA.
CONCLUSIONS:Public health messages targeted at vegetarians and others who may choose to eat meat-free on certain days should emphasize decreased consumption of empty calories, and increased consumption of nuts and legumes, PUFA and vegetables, as a way to improve overall dietary quality.