The Risks of Popular Diets: How Some Diet Trends May Harm Heart Health

Published on November 17, 2023, 12:35 am

The Risks of Popular Diets: How Some Diet Trends May Harm Heart Health

Fad diets have been around for quite some time, and new ones seem to emerge constantly. However, recent research reveals that some of these popular diet trends may actually put your heart health at risk. According to Dr. Nidhi Mehta, a cardiologist with LVPG Cardiology–Muhlenberg, certain dietary patterns can increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has identified several diets that pose significant risks to heart health. It is important to approach these diets with caution and consider the potential consequences before giving them a try. Dr. Mehta emphasizes the need for awareness and understanding when it comes to choosing a diet plan.

One example of a potentially risky diet is the low-fat eating pattern, such as the Ornish and McDougall diets. These diets emphasize the consumption of produce, whole grains, and legumes while restricting oils, meats, fish, nuts, seeds, eggs, and dairy products. While it may seem like a healthy choice, this diet excludes foods that are crucial for maintaining heart health according to the AHA’s recommendations. By excluding fish, nuts, and plant oils from your diet, you may be increasing your risk of developing heart problems. Additionally, following a low-fat diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies that are associated with heart disease. If you do choose to follow this type of diet, focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods to ensure you’re getting appropriate nutrition.

Another potentially risky diet is the Paleo diet (short for Paleolithic). This eating plan encourages the consumption of fruits, nuts, lean meats while avoiding grains, legumes, oils, and dairy products. The AHA classifies the Paleo diet in its lowest tier when it comes to adhering to a heart-healthy lifestyle. They express significant concerns about its impact on heart health due to potential nutrient deficiencies and lack of fiber.

The keto or ketogenic diet is yet another popular trend that focuses on high fat intake and low carbohydrate consumption. This diet heavily emphasizes meats, eggs, and full-fat dairy products while severely limiting carbohydrates found in grains, legumes, and most fruits. According to the AHA, the keto diet is also classified in the lowest tier for its adherence to heart-healthy principles. Moreover, following a keto diet can result in the loss of certain plant-based chemicals known for reducing the risk of death.

In conclusion, if you’re considering embarking on a new diet journey, it’s essential to proceed with caution. As Dr. Mehta suggests, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. It is crucial to consult with your doctor or clinician about what dietary approach is best suited for your individual needs and health conditions.

For those looking for healthier dietary options, focusing on Mediterranean foods could be beneficial. This includes incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fish into your meals. Another option worth exploring is the DASH eating pattern which has shown promising results in lowering high blood pressure.

Remember that maintaining a healthy weight involves finding an eating plan that works well for you and ensures balanced nutrition while prioritizing heart health.