The new heart rules: Cut down on eggs, forget antioxidant pills, and for God’s sake STOP juicing: US surgeons release new guidelines on how to keep your heart healthy A team of doctors have released new guidelines defining heart-healthy foods They say past studies have published conflicting and biased evidence Additionally, many cardiologists have little to no training in heart nutrition Experts hope the new rules cut down the cost heart disease places on healthcare When it comes to a heart-healthy diet, experts have recommended everything from antioxidant pills to juicing to gluten-free diets. But according to new guidelines issued by US surgeons, many of these claims are not only unsubstantiated, but incredibly dangerous for your health.
They say the best way to keep your heart healthy is the old-fashioned way: fruits and vegetables, nuts and plant-based proteins. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. About 610,000 people die of cardiovascular disease every year – that’s one in every four deaths. Researchers hope the new guidelines will emphasize the need for cardiologists to learn about heart-healthy foods as well as cut down on the rising cost heart disease is placing on US healthcare.
New heart-healthy food guidelines have been released by a team of US doctors after years of conflicting studies and the lack of knowledge by cardiologists Lead author Dr Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at the National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, said there is great deal of misinformation surrounding the subject. ‘Over the last several years there has been conflicting evidence of what is heart healthy,’ he told Daily Mail Online. ‘The majority of consumers are confused and the majority of health care providers are confused. And cardiologists often have little nutrition training.’
The team complied a master list of 50 topics from various nutrition studies, intending to cut through the confusion about the best dietary patterns to reduce heart disease. The review found that current evidence strongly supports eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts in moderation. Although more controversial, some heart-healthy diets may also include very limited quantities of lean meat, fish, low-fat and nonfat dairy products, and liquid vegetable oils.
The authors addressed why there can be confusion surrounding nutrition studies. According to Dr Freeman, many of these studies are funded and/or influenced by the food industry, and therefore may have some biases. ‘There have been tons of industry influences like the sugar industry, which results in biased studies,’ he said. ‘All these big companies out there, like Big Pharma, benefit when there’s confusion because consumers are just throwing up their hands in the air and saying, “Do whatever you want”.’ Here is a breakdown of the healthy foods you may not have realized could be bad for you:
- EGGS AND CHOLESTEROL
The review recommended egg consumption be limited due to high cholesterol levels Although a government report issued in 2015 dropped specific recommendations about upper limits for cholesterol consumption, the review concluded, ‘it remains prudent to advise patients to significantly limit intake of dietary cholesterol in the form of eggs or any high cholesterol foods to as little as possible.’ Dr Freeman said while egg whites are recommended more than eating the whole egg, he advised to limit egg consumption as much as possible.
- VEGETABLE OILS
Vegetable oils have limited data supporting their routine use, so olive oil is recommended The review discouraged the use of coconut oil and palm oil due to limited data supporting routine use. However, the team said olive oil was the most heart-healthy, as long as it was in moderation because of its higher amount of calories. In a recent warning, Dr Catherine Shanahan, nutritionist and family physician, suggested that consistent use of vegetable oil could raise the risk of dementia.
While juicing can up your fruit and vegetable intake, it also concentrates calories While the fruits and vegetables contained in juices are heart-healthy, the process of juicing concentrates calories, which makes it is much easier to ingest too many, according to Dr Freeman. ‘You can eat five or six apples and be just fine, but a tall glass of apple juice packs in many more calories than a single apple,’ he said. Eating whole fruits and vegetables is preferred, with juicing primarily reserved for situations when daily intake of vegetables and fruits is inadequate. And if you do juice, the researchers suggest avoid adding extra sugar by putting in honey, to minimize calories.
The reviewers say claims of the health benefits of a gluten-free diet are unsubstantiated People who have celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities are told to avoid gluten, which includes wheat, barley and rye. But for patients who don’t have any gluten sensitivities, many of the claims surrounding the health benefits of a gluten-free diet are unsubstantiated, the researchers concluded. Celiac disease only affects one percent of healthy, average Americans, according to the University of Chicago Medicine. ‘There’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to trends such as gluten-free diets,’ Dr Freeman said. ‘When you’re not gluten-sensitive and you’re going out and getting a gluten-free pizza, you’re much more likely to be allergic to the dairy then anything.’
The guidelines recommend a rich supply of fruits and vegetables, such as berries which are high in antioxidants Leading heart doctors back HERBAL medicine to fight cardiovascular disease Physicians have been encouraged to become well-versed in herbal medicine used to treat cardiovascular disease. A new review has suggested that doctors learn homeopathic remedies their patients may take to so they can effectively discuss their clinical implications, potential benefits and side effects. This is despite a lack of scientific evidence to support their use. Herbal medications do not require clinical studies before being marketed to consumers or formal approval from regulatory agencies, so their efficacy and safety are rarely proven.
Researchers looked at 42 herbal medications that have a possible indication for treating one or more cardiovascular conditions, and selected 10 of the most common. The researchers found a lack of evidence, and said it was not always possible to clearly establish a cause-effect link between exposure to herbal medications and potential side effects. They concluded that because of the popularity of these medications and the potential for drug interactions or other safety concerns, physicians should start a conversation around herbal medication use to effectively counsel their patients Lead author Dr Graziano Onder said: ‘Physicians should improve their knowledge of herbal medications in order to adequately weigh the clinical implications related to their use. ‘Physicians should explain that natural does not always mean safe.’
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