Mediterranean diet ‘does not decrease dementia risk’

The so-called Mediterranean diet does not decrease the risk of developing dementia, a new Swedish study claims.

Although several studies have previously suggested a healthy diet may reduce a person’s risk of developing the syndrome, researchers at Lund University says they have not found a link.

Study author Dr Isabelle Glans said: "Previous studies on the effects of diet on dementia risk have had mixed results.

"While our study does not rule out a possible association between diet and dementia, we did not find a link in our study, which had a long follow-up period, included younger participants than some other studies and did not require people to remember what foods they had eaten regularly years before."�

For this study, published in *Neurology*, researchers identified 28,000 people from Sweden, who were followed for 20 years.

Participants had an average age of 58 and did not have dementia at the start of the study. They completed a seven-day food diary, a detailed food frequency questionnaire and completed an interview.

By the end of the study, 1,943 people (6.9%) were diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Researchers examined how closely participants’ diets aligned with conventional dietary recommendations and a "Mediterranean"� diet, which includes a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, fish and healthy fats such as olive oil, and a low intake of dairy products, meats and saturated fatty acids.

After adjusting for age, gender, and education, researchers did not find a link between following either a conventional diet or the Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of dementia.

Researchers say a limitation of the study was that participants could misreport their own dietary and lifestyle habits. Dr Glans added further research is needed.

*Neurology* 12 October 2022

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