Dietary fat and alcohol in the prediction of indices of vascular health among young adults

Dorothy M Tisdel, Jessica J Gadberry, Summer L Burke, Nicholas A Carlini, Bradley S Fleenor, Marilyn S Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Arterial stiffness, particularly of the aorta, is an independent predictor of future cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, and hypertension. Arterial stiffening may be caused or exacerbated by the composition of the diet. Current research has indicated that habitual dietary patterns may influence arteriosclerosis, or the thickening and hardening of the artery walls, but has yet to identify a specific food group as the culprit. In young, college-aged adults, dietary fat intake and alcohol consumption tend to be higher compared to other periods throughout the life cycle. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the influence of dietary fat and alcohol consumption on the vascular health of apparently healthy young adults.

METHODS: The data collected were assessed to determine if dietary fat and alcohol in young (18-30 y), college-aged adults (n = 50) were independent predictors of an increase in arterial stiffening. Vascular health was determined by the carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity and the augmentation index corrected for a heart rate of 75 beats/min; dietary patterns were assessed using the Dietary Health Questionnaire II.

RESULTS: The gold standard marker of aortic stiffness, carotid femoral pulse-wave velocity, was positively correlated with cheese consumption (R 2 = 0.092, P = 0.033), alcohol consumption (R 2 = 0.102, P = 0.024), and total energy/calories (%) from alcohol (R 2 = 0.118, P = 0.015) in univariate analysis. In forward-selection multiple regression analysis, energy from alcohol and cheese consumption accounted for 23.7% of the variance in carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (P = 0.009). The augmentation index wave reflection marker was positively correlated with total dietary fat (R 2 = 0.110, P = 0.019), trans fatty acids (R 2 = 0.092, P = 0.032), saturated fatty acids (R 2 = 0.124, P = 0.012), monounsaturated fatty acids (R 2 = 0.012, P = 0.015), red-meat consumption (R 2 = 0.094, P = 0.030), and discretionary fat from solids in univariate analysis (R 2 = 0.137, P = 0.008). Discretionary fat from solids accounted for 13.7% of the variation in augmentation index in forward-selection multiple regression analysis (P = 0.008).

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate the potential roles of dietary fat and alcohol consumption in early vascular aging by stiffening the arteries of young, college-aged adults, which may in turn contribute to future adverse cardiovascular disease outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111120
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Aorta
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats
  • Humans
  • Hypertension
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Vascular Stiffness
  • Young Adult


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