The association between adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet and cognitive ageing

Age Ageing. 2024 May 11;53(Supplement_2):ii39-ii46. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afae032.


Background: The EAT-Lancet commission has proposed a dietary pattern that is both sustainable and healthy. However, the impact of this diet on cognition in older adults remains unexplored. Therefore, we examined the association between adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet and cognitive ageing.

Methods: We used data from a previous intervention study involving cognitively healthy community-dwelling adults aged ≥65 years. Adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet was calculated using a recently published index and a 190-item food frequency questionnaire. Global and domain-specific cognitive functioning were assessed at baseline and after 2 years using a neuropsychological test battery. Multivariate-adjusted linear regression was conducted to examine associations between EAT-Lancet diet adherence and cognitive functioning (n = 630) and 2-year change (n = 302).

Results: Greater adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet was associated with better global cognitive functioning (β per SD = 3.7 points [95% CI]: 0.04 [0.00, 0.08]) and slower rate of decline (β per SD [95% CI]: 0.05 [0.02, 0.08]). With respect to domain-specific functioning, beneficial associations were observed cross-sectionally for executive functioning (P < 0.01), and longitudinally for change in executive functioning (P < 0.01) and attention and working memory (P < 0.01). The degree of adherence to the EAT-Lancet was not associated with (changes in) information processing speed or episodic memory.

Conclusion: We demonstrated that greater adherence to the EAT-Lancet diet is associated with better global cognitive functioning and slower cognitive decline among cognitively healthy older adults. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and assess the potential benefits of the EAT-Lancet diet for the ageing population in a broader context.

Keywords: brain ageing; healthy ageing; nutrition; older people; planetary health diet; plant-based diet.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition*
  • Cognitive Aging* / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Executive Function*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nutritive Value
  • Protective Factors
  • Time Factors