According to a scientific statement released by the American Heart Association on Thursday, four popular diets that emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole cereals, poultry meat, and fish are among the healthiest.
The American Heart Association has awarded the highest score to the so-called Dash (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which includes vegetables, fruits, whole cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds, and low-fat milk products, as well as lean meat, poultry meat, fish, and non-tropical oils. (Diet schedule below)
The statement has assigned the second-highest score to a pescatarian (someone who consumes fish but no meat) diet that consists of vegetarian eating patterns in addition to fish and seafood but no meat. The Mediterranean diet, which is similar to the Dash diet but includes extra virgin olive oil and a moderate amount of red wine, and vegetarian diets that include milk products and eggs have also received high marks.
Christopher Gardner, chief of the AHA panel that authored the scientific statement, stated in a press release, “In recent years, the number of popular dietary patterns has proliferated, and misinformation about them on social media has reached crisis proportions.”
The 10-member expert panel published the statement in the AHA’s premier journal, Circulation, on Thursday.
Gardner stated that the public and even many healthcare professionals may be perplexed about heart-healthy eating. The purpose of this scientific statement is to assist the general public and medical professionals in determining which diets promote cardiovascular health.
The panel gave the lowest scores to the so-called paleo diet — which includes vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish, and eggs, but excludes whole and refined grains, legumes, oil, and dairy products — and very-low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets that restrict carbohydrate consumption to less than 10 percent of daily calories.
Paleo and ketogenic diets are “extremely restrictive” and difficult for the majority of people to sustain, according to Gardner.
“There may be short-term benefits and significant weight loss, but it is not sustainable. “A diet that aids in achieving and maintaining weight loss goals must be sustainable,” said Gardner.
This is the first analysis of how closely various diets adhere to the AHA’s dietary guidance, which emphasizes limiting unhealthy fats and excess carbohydrates to improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of other diseases, such as type-2 diabetes.
The panel awarded Dash a perfect score of 100. The pescatarian diet received the second-highest score, 92, followed by the Mediterranean diet (89) and vegetarian diets containing milk or eggs (86).
These four top-tier dietary patterns align most closely with the AHA’s recommendations for healthful eating and “may be adapted to accommodate cultural practices, food preferences, and budgets,” according to Gardner.
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