What determines whether a diet is heart-healthy?

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Two nutrition studies recently made headlines when they raised concerns about the impact of dietary choices on cardiovascular health. What are the “ingredients” of a heart-healthy diet, which foods should we avoid, and why to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease? This blog addresses these and other topics about heart-healthy eating choices.

In April 2024, two nutrition studies made headlines for emphasizing the importance of diet on cardiovascular health.

The first study, published on April 8 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was done by researchers from the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research.

It included 89 persons at risk for type 2 diabetes. It found what may appear to be an unexpected result: eating plant-based meat substitutes provided no substantial benefits to heart health over actual animal meat.

The second study, whose findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session in early April 2024, was led by experts from Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital in Athens, Georgia.

It examined data from 3,170 people in the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Trusted Source, all adults with cardiovascular disease.

This study indicated that 89% of them ingested more than double the “ideal” intake advised by the American Heart Association, which is 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium (salt) per day.

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