Ynte Biemans published a paper “Identifying the relation between food groups and biological ageing: a data-driven approach” in Age and Ageing in May 2024

Heterogeneity in ageing rates highlights the need for research into lifestyle factors that contribute to successful ageing. Biological age, estimated by epigenetic clocks, is a more accurate measure of ageing compared to chronological age. While dietary habits are known to affect the ageing process, associations have been weak and inconsistent between studies, and often focused on single nutrients. Therefore, in this study we used a data-driven approach using a comprehensive dataset to identify food groups that are directly related to biological ageing. In our preregistered study, we analyzed multivariate data of 3,990 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative. We use the epigenetic clock PhenoAge, based on whole-blood DNA methylation, to calculate biological age acceleration. Copula Graphical Modelling, a powerful data-driven exploratory tool, was used to examine relations between food groups and biological ageing while adjusting for an extensive amount of confounders. Our analysis revealed that consumption of eggs, organ meat, sausages, cheese, legumes, starchy vegetables, added sugar, and lunch meat, was associated with biological age acceleration, while intake of peaches/nectarines/plums, poultry, nuts, discretionary oil and solid fat was associated with slower biological ageing. These findings pave the way for subsequent studies to ascertain causality and magnitude of these relationships, thereby improving our understanding of biological mechanisms underlying the interplay between food groups and biological ageing.