Whole diet approach best for heart risk

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A diet focused on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish has more evidence of preventing heart disease and lowering cardiovascular risk than diets focusing on limiting fat.

An analysis of studies dating back to 1957 found the whole diet approach, which focuses on eating a variety of foods and includes a Mediterranean-style diet, is more effective at reducing heart disease but not necessarily LDL cholesterol. Researchers found diets which promoted certain food groups while encouraging a decrease in others had a greater effect on a patient’s cardiovascular risk than a simple low-fat diet.

"The last fifty years of epidemiology and clinical trials have established a clear link between diet, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular events," study co-author James E. Dalen, MD, MPH, was quoted as saying. "Nutritional interventions have proven that a 'whole diet' approach with equal attention to what is consumed as well as what is excluded is more effective in preventing cardiovascular disease than low fat, low cholesterol diets."

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