Cutting-Edge Practices in Diet - Part 2

June 18, 2020

Summary Points

·  There are several diet fads currently but evidence is limited

·  It is important to try and eat organic foods

·  The vegetarian diet is a very appropriate dietary pattern

Lynda: Hi, this is Lynda Murdock from Moving Analytics. I have with me today, Nancy Houston Miller, who is a registered nurse and the chief clinical officer for Moving Analytics. Nancy has a depth and breadth of experience and background in treating cardiovascular patients. And today we're going to continue our conversation about eating for cardiovascular health. Nancy, it's great to have you here today.

Nancy: Thank you so much, Lynda. And it's a pleasure to be here to talk about one of my favorite subjects and that is the area of diets.

Lynda: Last time we talked about the current recommendations for dietary patterns for cardiovascular health.However, it may be tempting for some to hop on the latest fad diet to lose weight or achieve other health goals. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Nancy: Well, when we think about diet, it's important to recognize that our goal from a cardiovascular standpoint is to consider primarily a plant-based diet. This is a diet which includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dietary fiber and healthy fatty acids, foods which are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, potassium and phytochemicals. But as we know, there are fad diets that come and go throughout our lifespan. And right now, some of the most popular diets include the Paleo diet, the keto diet, and intermittent fasting. I want to highlight these diets and talk a little bit about what we know about them. The Paleo Diet is quite popular and includes both fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some of the things that are very important to our diets such as fish and oils, but it also avoids grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, salt, and potatoes. And we certainly don't have enough good data on this diet. We do know from various studies that similar diets to paleo increase both cardiac and non-cardiac mortality so I think we must be a little bit cautious about this diet.  

The keto diet is about 70% fat 25%protein and 5% carbohydrates. It’s a diet that's been around 100 years and was originally developed for children with epilepsy. But once again, there's no evidence on the outcomes of this diet and its’ safety as well.  This diet also cuts out many important foods and nutrients and really requires the oversight of a dietician to make sure there aren’t negative effects from it.  

Finally, intermittent fasting is very popular right now. There are many ways to fast but the most popular is a 16hour fast with about an eight-hour period in which you are depriving calories overnight and you don't eat until noon the next day. Many types of fasting are now being investigated for their benefit or lack thereof, and small studies indicate that there's some good health effects, but we don't have any long-term studies to look at the benefits of fasting.

Lynda: Thank you for that overview. Now let’s talk about food and shopping. The signs in the grocery store make me wonder about organic vs non-organic fruits and veg, grass fed vs grain fed animals and farmed vs wild fish. What are your thoughts here?

Nancy: Well, when possible, it is important to try and eat organic foods if you can because they have less chemicals, pesticides and other harmful additives. In addition, grassfed meat products are healthier options, because they are naturally leaner, have a higher omega-3 fatty acids, and more vitamin A and vitamin E. However, they may be slightly more expensive. Fish is also a very important part of the diet whether farmed or wild as there are many health benefits from fish such as high level of omega-3 fatty acids. The dietary patterns such as DASH and the Mediterranean diet all recommend at least 2-3 servings of fish per week.

Lynda: Tell me what your thoughts are on the benefits of a vegan, lacto, or OVO diets.

Nancy: Well, the vegetarian diet, whether it's lacto, ovo, or vegan is a very appropriate dietary pattern, because it includes lots of carbohydrates, soluble fiber, minerals, antioxidants and plant proteins. And so, when we look at dietary patterns, whether it be the DASH diet, or the Mediterranean diet, which are the most widely researched diets, the vegetarian diet is a highly important dietary pattern similar to these others.

Lynda: This ends our session today. I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise around promoting healthy dietary patterns for the cardiovascular patient.

Nancy: Thank you. I’ve really enjoyed my time discussing diet.

Disclaimer: The site does not provide medical advice. This site is for information purposes only. Viewing this site, receipt of information contained on this site, or the transmission of information from or to this site does not constitute a physician-patient or attorney-client relationship.

The medical and/or nutritional information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

FEATS IN HEARTBEATS  –  the moving analytics blog

Read how we're changing cardiovascular care.

Industry announcements, tips, and interviews from thought leaders in cardiac rehab.

You've successfully subscribed to our newsletter!
Oops! Please try again, an unknown error occurred.