The American Heart Association releases new recommendations that can help in reducing the risks of developing heart disease. Just by replacing high saturated fat foods with low saturated fat foods, it is possible to receive the same cholesterol lowering effects as provided by statins.
This would require people to, for instance, swap butter with canola oil and eliminate carb-filled junk food from their diet. Cholesterol plagues will clog the arteries and cause strokes and heart attacks.
The new guidance provided by the group was formed from new dietary fads and less scientific studies. The way the physicians relay the message about diet will reflect how patients receive it.
Most doctors agree that heart health mainly depends on a healthy diet, but many suggest there is more room for flexibility than suggested by the heart association advisory. However, there are some physicians that believe the guidance just does not go far enough in making clear which foods can genuinely protect people from developing heart disease.
In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death.
“This tries to put it all in perspective – the view from 10,000 feet – but sometimes food can still be controversial,” said Dr. Michael Miller, director of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Center for Preventive Cardiology.
Medical experts have known for a long time that eating foods that are lower in saturated fats can help in reducing LDL or bad cholesterol levels. The heart association discovered that this is only possible when saturated fat is replaced with unsaturated fat and not simple carbohydrates, which are composed of sugars, but no fiber. Both fiber and unsaturated fats are capable of helping in lowering cholesterol levels.
Miller recommends cheating once in a while.
“If you’re good most of the time, allow yourself one unhealthy breakfast, lunch and dinner a week,” he said. “But don’t go nuts and eat a 24-ounce steak.”
Lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress and adding regular exercise, will also help keep the heart healthy.
An internal medicine doctor at Mercy Medical Center, Dr. Dana Simpler, disagrees with the heart association report. She said a poor diet has consequences and believes that people should be warned that all their food matters.
Simpler and other physicians advocate for plant-based, whole-food diet, which has been proven to reduce the risk of a first or recurrent heart attack close to zero.
This diet would include unprocessed foods with little to no salt, sugar or oil.