Drop the chips. A new study has found that reaching for starchy snacks drives up your risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and all other causes by 50 percent. Meanwhile eating fruit for lunch and vegetables for dinner dramatically lowers your risk of death from all causes (by 34 percent). The new study, published in the Journal of American Heart Association, looked at eating patterns and the timing of food intake across 21,503 participants for 12 years and found fascinating patterns and some significant results.
The study found that participants who regularly ate a fruit-based lunch had lower mortality risks of all causes, whereas participants who consumed a Western lunch (defined as cured meat, cheese, and refined grains such as white bread) were the most likely to die from cardiovascular disease and cancer. On the positive side of their research, participants who consumed a vegetable dinner had lower mortality risks from all causes, including cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
As for the snack patterns, participants who consumed fruit‐snack after breakfast had lower mortality risks of all causes including cancer. Participants who consumed a starchy snack after their main meals had greater mortality risks of all causes.

The Western or American Diet Is the Deadliest Diet:

In this case, the "Western diet" resembles the traditional American diet of red or processed meat, full-fat cheese both high in saturated fat, and highly processed foods such as white bread, chips, and refined grains, stripped of their original nutrients. These foods are driving up our risk of "all-cause mortalities," the study said.

The study's findings:

  • Eating a Western lunch was associated with a 44% increased risk of cardiovascular disease death
  • Eating a fruit-based lunch was associated with a 34% reduced risk of cardiovascular death
  • Eating a vegetable-based dinner was associated with a 31% reduction in all-cause mortality
  • Eating a starchy snack high in starch after any meal raised risk of all-cause mortality 50% and the risk of cardiovascular death between 44 and 57%. 
Fruit salad on the dinning room table
Getty Images
So we now know that chips are a killer. To live longer, throw out the potato chips (even though they may be plant-based) and instead buy fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes, and snack on nuts and seeds. Make a fruit salad for lunch and a wholesome salad or stir fry with vegetables and beans for dinner, to be healthiest and boost your chances of living longest.
When you are looking for a snack, it's healthier to grab a piece of fruit, and new studies have shown that eating 2 servings of fruit a day help you lower your BMI and have a smaller waist, due to the fact that fruit contains healthy fiber that keeps blood sugar low and insulin levels in check.

The worst thing to eat for heart disease is a starchy snack

The new research found that eating starchy snacks high in white potato or other starches after any meal was associated with a 50 percent increased risk of mortality and up to 57 percent increased risk of a heart disease-related death. Meanwhile eating fruits at lunch and vegetables at dinner led to a reduced risk of death from heart disease, cancer, or any cause.

"People are increasingly concerned about what they eat as well as when they eat," said Ying Li, Ph.D., who led the study, according to Science Daily. Ying, a professor in the department of nutrition and food hygiene at Harbin Medical University School of Public Health in Harbin, China, added: "Our team sought to better understand the effects different foods have when consumed at certain meals.".

Researchers categorized the types of meals the participants ate into three main groups: Western breakfast, starchy breakfast and fruit breakfast, a Western lunch, a vegetable lunch and a fruit lunch and for dinner, a Western dinner, vegetable dinner, and fruit dinner. For snacks, they grouped the types of snacking patterns as falling into one of four categories: A grain snack, a starchy snack, a  fruit snack, and a dairy snack. The Western diet they looked at is higher in saturated fat and protein, so it mirrors the traditional American diet.

Those eating a Western lunch ate more refined grains, solid fats, cheese, added sugars and cured meat, according to the researchers. Those who ate the fruit-based lunch group took in the greatest number of servings of whole grain, fruits, yogurt, and nuts. Those who ate a  vegetable-based dinner ate the highest number of servings of all vegetables and legumes. Those eating the starchy snacks ate more white potatoes.

"Our results revealed that the amount and the intake time of various types of foods are equally critical for maintaining optimal health," Li wrote. "Future nutrition guidelines and interventional strategies could integrate optimal consumption times for foods across the day."

The Top 20 Veggies with the Most Protein

Everyone who contemplates going plant-based has the same question: where do I get my protein? Simple answer: Vegetables! Contrary to the popular belief that you have to eat animal protein to get enough into your diet, one of the best ways to get protein is by eating vegetables. Animals provide protein because they're fed a diet of plants that are high in protein, so if you cut out the middleman -- or middle cow or middle chicken in this case -- you can get the same protein just by going direct-to-the-source.

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