A study published in the American Journal of Medicine shows that, overall, a dietary approach that focuses on increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, and nuts appears to be more convincing in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease than strategies that focus solely on reducing dietary fat. component.
This new study explains that while low-fat diets can lower cholesterol, they are not as convincing in reducing deaths from heart disease. Analyzing key studies on the relationship between nutrition and heart health over the past few decades, scientists found that participants who followed a specially designed complex diet, compared with those who simply limited their intake of fat, showed a greater percentage of reduction in mortality associated with diseases of the cardiovascular system and, in particular, myocardial infarction.
Past research on the relationship between food and heart disease attributed high serum cholesterol levels to increased intake of saturated fat, which subsequently led to an increased likelihood of developing coronary heart disease. This led the American Heart Association to recommend limiting fat intake to less than 30% of daily calories, saturated fat to 10%, and cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day.
“Nearly all of the clinical research in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s focused on comparing normal versus low-fat, low-saturated-fat, and high-polyunsaturated fat diets,” says study co-author James E. Dahlen from Arizona State University. “These diets really helped lower cholesterol levels. However, they did not reduce the incidence of myocardial infarction or mortality from coronary heart disease.”
By carefully analyzing existing research (from 1957 to the present), scientists have found that a holistic approach to nutrition, and Mediterranean-style diets in particular, are effective in preventing heart disease, even if they cannot lower cholesterol. The Mediterranean-style diet is low in animal products and saturated fats and recommends the intake of monounsaturated fats found in nuts and olive oil. In particular, the diet involves the consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and seaweed.
The effectiveness of combining a variety of cardioprotective products is significant – and perhaps even surpasses many of the drugs and procedures that have been the focus of modern cardiology. The result of research aimed at reducing dietary fat was disappointing, which prompted a change in the direction of subsequent research towards a comprehensive approach to nutrition.
Based on evidence from several of the influential studies reviewed in this article, scientists have concluded that by emphasizing the importance of certain foods and encouraging people to limit their intake of others, you can achieve better results in preventing heart disease than limiting yourself to recommending low-fat foods. Encouraging the consumption of olive oil instead of cow butter and cream while increasing the amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts promises to be more effective.
Over the past fifty years of clinical trials, a clear link has been established between nutrition and the development of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. Equal attention must be paid to what is consumed and what is not consumed, this is more effective in preventing cardiovascular disease than the introduction of a low-fat diet.