Are there any major health risks following the 2019 EAT-Lancet report on healthy diets?

In January, 2019, the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from the sustainable food systems report defined a universal reference diet to promote human and environmental health which was based on a vast literature review. To evaluate its association with the risk of major health outcomes, Anika Knüppel, Keren Papier and colleagues examined data from 46,069 participants enrolled throughout the UK in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford study.

Using data from food frequency questionnaires collected between 1993 and 2001, they created an EAT-Lancet score based on the 14 key recommendations (see paper for more details). Participants were assigned a point for meeting each of the recommendations, resulting in possible scores of 0–14. They analysed whether this score was associated with the risk of hospitalisation or death from ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes and total mortality, ascertained through health record linkage.

In this large prospective cohort of British adults, adherence to the EAT-Lancet reference diet shows beneficial associations for ischaemic heart disease and diabetes, but no association with stroke and no clear association with mortality.

This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, Our Planet Our Health (Livestock, Environment, and People), and the UK Medical Research Council.