Despite recent food trends encouraging us to breakfast on protein-rich eggs, sip on green juices, and add coconut oil to our coffee, a new review published on Monday has attempted to call time on some of the latest food fads and help end the confusion about what is the most nutritionally sound way to reduce heart disease.
Carried out by Andrew Freeman, MD, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness in the division of cardiology at National Jewish Health in Denver, the report examined several recent diet trends, as well as “hypes and controversies” surrounding nutrition.
“There is a great amount of misinformation about nutrition fads, including antioxidant pills, juicing and gluten-free diets,” commented Freeman, “However, there are a number of dietary patterns that have clearly been demonstrated to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease.”
After analyzing current evidence, the report debunked some of the recent popular food fads, but also found that, “There is a growing consensus that a predominantly plant-based diet that emphasizes green, leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruit is where the best improvements are seen in heart health.”
Some other key findings from the study on what food fads to avoid — and which food trends to follow — can be found below:
Despite previous recommendations, the report advises limiting the amount of eggs in the diet, or any other high cholesterol foods, to as little as possible.
Coconut oil and palm oil, which are high in saturated fatty acids and raise cholesterol, should be limited or avoided altogether due to limited data supporting regular intake.
Extra-virgin olive oil
It’s the most heart-healthy oil concludes the study, but due to its number of calories, consume in moderation.
Enjoy three times as week for an antioxidant boost, instead of antioxidant dietary supplements. Fruits and vegetables are the healthiest and most beneficial source of antioxidants to reduce heart disease risk, whereas there is no significant evidence that adding supplements into the diet benefits heart health.
30g of nuts a day also boosts heart health, but be wary of portion size as they are high in calories.
Be careful with this recent food trend. Although the fruits and vegetables in juices are healthy, the process of juicing removes the pulp and increases the calorie concentration, making it easier to consume too many calories without realizing.
Instead eat whole fruits and vegetables and opt for with juicing only occasionally, on days when fruit and veg intake needs a boost. And, if you do juice, avoid adding honey, which adds extra sugar and calories.
Although people who have celiac disease or other gluten sensitivity must avoid gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye, for those who don’t have any gluten sensitivities many of the claims for health benefits of a gluten-free diet are unsubstantiated.
High-fat processed diets
Referred to by the researchers as Southern diets, a diet high in fried foods, high-cholesterol eggs, added fats and oils, processed meats and sugary drinks should also be avoided.
The results can be found published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.