Diet is an important contributor to health and may modify the genetic susceptibility to cardiometabolic diseases, such as obesity or cardiovascular disease. Plant-based dietary patterns (PBDP) in particular may improve cardiometabolic health, but the relationships between PBDP and genetic risk of cardiometabolic disease require further investigation. The aim of this presentation is to explain whether adherence to PBDP mediates or moderates the associations between polygenic risk scores (PRS) and cardiometabolic outcomes. Four PBDP-indices were used to assess the quality of the diet (overall, healthy, and unhealthy) and one to assess sustainability (planetary healthy diet). Further, several PRS were used to assess genetic risk to coronary artery disease and obesity. General linear models and causal mediation analyses were used to assess main effects and mediation/moderation effects in a sample of 7,000 participants from the Quebec CARTaGENE study in middle-age adults. Our results showed that cardiometabolic traits are associated with both PRSs, and the unhealthy-PBDP showed an inverse association with the obesity PRS. While cardiometabolic traits were associated with the different PBDPs and their food group items, gene x diet interactions were not observed. However, the genetic susceptibility to obesity was partly mediated by the intake of meat and red meat food products. More research is needed to understand the complex relationships between PBDPs and genetic susceptibility in the context of cardiometabolic health. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that reducing meat intake might be beneficial for planning nutritional interventions, particularly in individuals with higher genetic risk.
Guiomar Masip completed her PhD in Population Health at the Department of Public Health at the University of Helsinki in November 2021. Her PhD thesis focused on investigating the complex relationships between anthropometric traits, eating behavior patterns, diet quality and obesity genes. In April 2022, she started a position as a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Human Nutrition (McGill University), under the supervision of Dr. Nielsen, and received a postdoctoral scholarship from INAF. Her current research focuses on examining the impact of plant-based dietary patterns on cardiometabolic traits and investigating whether plant-based dietary patterns can moderate or mediate the relationship between cardiometabolic traits and genetic variants. Additionally, she continues to work as a research visitor at the Finnish Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Helsinki, in the European project IDEFICS/I.Family. Her main responsibilities are the construction and validation of a plant-based diet score for children, adolescents and adults from 8 European countries, as well as studying whether adherence to the Mediterranean diet moderates the association between obesity genes and anthropometric traits.