The American Heart Association recently released a report analyzing and ranking popular diets based on their effects on heart health. This effort aims to dispel nutrition misconceptions, especially those spreading on social media, where keto and paleo diets have become increasingly popular.
Christopher D. Gardner, Director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, highlighted that the public and healthcare professionals face confusion about heart-healthy eating due to abundant misinformation. The report, published in the journal Circulation, was compiled by a team of experts, including nutrition scientists, cardiologists, and dietitians. They evaluated various diets, considering flexibility and adherence to heart-healthy eating guidelines.
Low-carb diets, such as the Atkins and ketogenic diets, received the lowest rankings. Despite some benefits, these diets often restrict healthy carbohydrates and include a high intake of fatty meats and saturated fats. The report found that metabolic health improvements from these diets are often short-lived, leading to increased LDL cholesterol levels, which can raise the risk of heart disease. The paleo diet faced similar scrutiny.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet earned the highest ranking, followed by the pescatarian, Mediterranean, and vegetarian diets. These diets promote fresh produce, whole grains, beans, and other plant-based foods.
Vegan and low-fat diets were placed in the second tier as they encourage the consumption of fiber-rich plants, fruits, and vegetables while limiting sugary foods and alcohol. The third tier included low-carb diets like the South Beach and Zone diets and very low-fat diets like the Ornish, Esselstyn, and Pritikin programs. These diets received lower scores due to their limitations on healthy foods.
Nevertheless, all diets across every tier shared four positive aspects: promoting whole foods, non-starchy vegetables, less added sugar, and fewer refined grains. If we embraced these four principles, it would significantly improve overall eating habits.
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and more! Plant-based diets have also been found to lower rates and risks for various diseases! Conversely, dairy and meat consumption has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and more.
Plant-based eating is the way to go. If you’re looking to make the switch, but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. This is where the Food Monster App comes in! The app has thousands of recipes, with more added daily. It makes eating plant-based so easy because there are so many options to choose from that you will be able to find something that appeals to you. Plus, you don’t even have to think about it – there’s no swapping out ingredients to veganize on your own. You can even search for different cuisines, types of food, dietary restrictions, and more to make your plant-based journey effortless. Check out some of the recipes below:
- The Ultimate Grillable Veggie Burger
- Easy Bean Burritos
- Pad Thai with Tofu in Peanut Sauce
- Tempeh Bacon
- Lobster Mushroom Mac ’n’ Cheese
- Quick Veggie-Sushi
- Sunny-Side Up Fried ‘Egg’
- Vegan Carrot Lox Toast with Herbed Cheese
- Chicken and Waffles
- 15-Minute Tofu Scramble
- Seitan Steak With Peppercorn Sauce
- Savory Mushroom and Vegetable Ramen Soup
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Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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