Objective: To identify dietary patterns associated with subclinical atherosclerosis measured as coronary artery calcification (CAC).
Design: Cross-sectional analysis of data from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health. Dietary data were assessed using a FFQ, and a principal component factor analysis was used to derive the dietary patterns. Scree plot, eigenvalues > 1 and interpretability were considered to retain the factors. CAC was measured using a computed tomography scanner and an electrocardiography-gated prospective Ca score examination and was categorised into three groups based on the CAC score: 0, 1-100 and >100 Agatston units. Multinomial regression models were conducted for dietary patterns and CAC severity categories.
Setting: Brazil, São Paulo, 2008-2010.
Participants: Active and retired civil servants who lived in São Paulo and underwent a CAC exam were included (n 4025).
Results: Around 10 % of participants (294 men, 97 women) had a detectable CAC (>0), 6·5 % (182 men, 73 women) had a CAC of 1-100 and 3·5 % (110 men, 23 women) had a CAC > 100. Three dietary patterns were identified: convenience food, which was positively associated with atherosclerotic calcification; plant-based and dairy food, which showed no association with CAC; and the traditional Brazilian food pattern (rice, legumes and meats), which was inversely associated with atherosclerotic calcification.
Conclusions: Our results showed that a dietary pattern consisting of traditional Brazilian foods could be important to reducing the risk of atherosclerotic calcification and prevent future cardiovascular events, whereas a convenience dietary pattern was positively associated with this outcome.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery calcification; Dietary pattern; Healthy eating.