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Category: General Health
In a massive review of more than 50 years of heart disease and diet research, researchers from McMasters University in Hamilton, Ontario, found that despite many claims, only some food groups and diet patterns have evidence of real benefit. The study appears in the latest Archives of Internal Medicine.
The strongest evidence for lowering heart disease risk was found for the Mediterranean-style diets, which contain lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, yogurts, cheese and fish. Strong evidence also supported the heart benefits of vegetables and nuts specifically. Of all diets studied, only a Mediterranean-style diet showed benefits in randomized clinical trials.
On the other side of the coin, a Western-style diet, with foods high in trans-fatty acids (processed baked goods and fried foods) or with a high glycemic index (white bread, pasta and rice), were shown to raise the risk of heart disease.
Many of the other diet factors that have received a lot of attention, such as omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, alcohol, vitamins E and C, folate and others, only had modest evidence of their claims, too modest to draw any conclusions.
The review study supports a recent finding in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found adding walnuts to one's diet reduced cholesterol, and adding fish reduced triglycerides. Both effects are related to reducing the risk of heart disease.
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