Inflammatory potential of the diet and mortality in the Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Spain)

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Aug;61(8). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600649. Epub 2017 Mar 3.


Scope: Low-grade chronic inflammation is associated with several chronic conditions, and diet is known to play a role in chronic inflammation. We aimed to evaluate the association between the inflammatory potential of the diet and mortality in the Spanish population from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Spain).

Methods and results: The study included 41 199 participants (62% female) aged 29-69 years from five Spanish regions. During 18 years of follow-up 3316 deaths were identified. The dietary inflammatory potential was assessed by means of an inflammatory score of the diet (ISD), calculated using 30 dietetic components and their corresponding inflammatory scores (weights). The association between the ISD and mortality was analyzed by multivariate Cox regression models. There was a significant association between ISD and mortality: subjects classified in the fifth quintile of the ISD (more proinflammatory diets) had a hazard ratio of 1.42 (95%-confidence interval 1.25-1.60) as compared with those in the first quintile; the corresponding figures were 1.89 (1.48-2.40) for cardiovascular diseases mortality and 1.44 (1.22-1.69) for death by cancer.

Conclusion: Consuming more proinflammatory diets, expressed by means of the ISD, is associated with higher mortality; this effect seems to be stronger for deaths by cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: Chronic inflammation; Inflammatory score of the diet; Mortality; Nutrition; Prospective studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Spain / epidemiology