A new review of the literature suggests refined dietary guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The paper emphasizes enjoyment, education and sustainability as key factors for long-term nutritional success.
It’s worth noting that funding sources and author affiliations are conflicts of interest.
In a recent article, researchers examined the results of previous studies on heart healthy diets.
Using keyword searches in PubMed, a database of biomedical articles, the authors sought to extract high-level knowledge from existing research.
They present their conclusions in a new article in the journal Cardiovascular Research of the European Society of Cardiology.
Before we outline the results, it is important to mention that the authors disclose conflicts of interest.
They explain that funding came from the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, a think tank run by pasta giant Barilla.
This organization endorses the Mediterranean Diet – support shared by the research team.
While a person’s diet isn’t the only factor influencing cardiovascular disease, it is the single most important factor, the researchers observe.
“Food choice is the single most important factor undermining health and well-being and accounts for nearly 50% of all CVD deaths,” they note in their paper.
“Other lifestyle-related factors such as smoking and low physical activity, as well as the individual’s genetic background, can change [cardiovascular] Risk and can also modulate the effects of diet on atherosclerosis; However, it is beyond the scope of this article to examine the role of these factors. “
Atherosclerosis is a collection of fatty plaques on the walls of the arteries. As the plaques build up over time, they narrow the blood vessels.
Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of around 50% of all deaths in Western countries.
The current research is part of a broader effort towards a revised food pyramid for the prevention of CVD.
Some of the paper’s conclusions are in line with typical dietary recommendations. For example, the researchers found that consuming more plant-based foods and not eating refined grains and starchy foods can lead to better heart health than consuming predominantly animal-based foods. But the paper also drew some less obvious conclusions.