Associations between food and beverage groups and major diet-related chronic diseases: an exhaustive review of pooled/meta-analyses and systematic reviews

Nutr Rev. 2014 Dec;72(12):741-62. doi: 10.1111/nure.12153. Epub 2014 Nov 18.


Associations between food and beverage groups and the risk of diet-related chronic disease (DRCD) have been the subject of intensive research in preventive nutrition. Pooled/meta-analyses and systematic reviews (PMASRs) aim to better characterize these associations. To date, however, there has been no attempt to synthesize all PMASRs that have assessed the relationship between food and beverage groups and DRCDs. The objectives of this review were to aggregate PMASRs to obtain an overview of the associations between food and beverage groups (n = 17) and DRCDs (n = 10) and to establish new directions for future research needs. The present review of 304 PMASRs published between 1950 and 2013 confirmed that plant food groups are more protective than animal food groups against DRCDs. Within plant food groups, grain products are more protective than fruits and vegetables. Among animal food groups, dairy/milk products have a neutral effect on the risk of DRCDs, while red/processed meats tend to increase the risk. Among beverages, tea was the most protective and soft drinks the least protective against DRCDs. For two of the DRCDs examined, sarcopenia and kidney disease, no PMASR was found. Overweight/obesity, type 2 diabetes, and various types of cardiovascular disease and cancer accounted for 289 of the PMASRs. There is a crucial need to further study the associations between food and beverage groups and mental health, skeletal health, digestive diseases, liver diseases, kidney diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: association analysis; beverages; dairy; diet-related chronic diseases; food groups; fruits; grains; meats; meta-analyses; systematic reviews; vegetables.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beverages*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control
  • Dairy Products
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diet*
  • Edible Grain
  • Food*
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Meat
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Milk
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Plants, Edible
  • Risk Factors
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic
  • Tea
  • Vegetables


  • Tea