Are there any diets that meet national health guidelines for reducing CVD risk?


Diet: A Means for Reducing Cardiovascular Disease

            Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the major causes of death worldwide. Risk factors include age, family history, smoker status, lifestyle (sedentary), obesity, hypertension and blood profiles. Diet is an important element for moderating risk status. A diet that is high in fruit and vegetables and low in trans fat is typically thought of as “healthy” and therefore the best protection against CVD. Eating a diet that will help with CVD risk reduction is vital for living a healthy life.
            Before you begin any diet it is important to consider how diet can affect your macronutrients. It should be a priority to maintain the national guidelines for appropriate nutrition when you think about the food that you eat. Since there are so many diets being promoted now, looking at a comparison of the diets and making an informed decision on which diet to try should be part of your plan to reduce your CVD risk.
De Souza looked at the macronutrients in 9 different diet plans to compare them to the national health guidelines and assess their ability to prevent CVD. The Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial to Prevent Heart Disease (OmniHeart) was divided into 3 trial diets: Omni-Carb, Omni-Protein and Omni-Unsat and then compared to 6 other popular diets (DASH, Atkins, Ornish, South Beach, Mediterranean and Zone). Each diet had a 7 day menu plan created. The diets were evaluated on how they fell into the guidelines of the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDRs), Adequate Intake (AI), American Heart Association (AHA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Cancer Society (ACS). All 3 of the OmniHeart diets were found to fulfill the major AMDRs along with the popular Zone diet. Overall, the OmniHeart diets were found to be dependable with fulfilling the national guidelines for cancer, diabetes and heart disease prevention. While the popular diets may meet some guidelines they had serious limitations for meeting all the requirements. The Omni-Protein and Omni-Unsat were found to improve CVD risk over the Omni-Carb; all 3 diets would be helpful for enhancing disease prevention. While popular diets may be beneficial they may not have all the health benefits that they claim.
This article was beneficial because it included tables that outlined what foods were eaten for examples for each of the diets, which allows you to compare across all the diets the variations and differences. This could be your starting point for developing your meal plan if you decide you want to begin a diet. There are online resources for heart-healthy eating based on the Omni Heart plan. Check out the 3 Omni Heart diets in the Appendix of the Harvard Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart guide available at  http://www.health.harvard.edu/special_health_reports/healthy-heart-diet. Or review the chart at http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Heart_Letter/2010/October/information-about-the-omniheart-diets
          You can modify your diet to an OmniHeart by eating 3.8 servings of fruit, 4.5 servings of vegetables, 5 oz whole grains, 2.5 servings of milk or dairy, 3 oz vegetable protein, 5 oz animal protein, 3.5 tbsp fats, 2.5 tsp of sugar with 1.1 egg. Now go get your heart pumping and with this diet plan to keep your heart healthy for a long time!

de Souza, R. J., Swain, J. F., Appel, L. J., & Sacks, F. M. (2008). Alternatives for macronutrient intake and chronic disease: a comparison of the OmniHeart diets with popular diets and with dietary recommendations. [Article]. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 88(1), 1-11.

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em·bod·ily Adverb

1. Express or give a tangible or visible form to (an idea, quality, or feeling).

2. Provide (a spirit) with a physical form.