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March 7, 2017

Doctors Against Nutritional Hype

Time to get smart about nutritional fads, like juicing and gluten-free diets. Doctors stand up for what is and isn't proven to work.

The abundance of health and diet information available should be helpful, but the amount of dietary distortion on the Internet, in books and magazines, and on television is mind-boggling. How do you know what to believe when everyone sounds like an authority? It all seems so credible — until you look at it from a scientific point of view, of course.

A team of twelve doctors from around the country, including esteemed diet doctor, Dean Ornish, did just that. To counteract the hype about current controversies in nutrition, they decided to outline what is really known about a heart-healthy diet by reviewing over 40 years of nutrition studies.

It’s low-tech, it’s cost-effective, and it works when patients take it seriously.

Their conclusion? A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes with a moderate amount of nuts is the most heart-healthy diet. Heart-healthy diets can also include limited amounts of meat, fish, low-fat or nonfat dairy foods, and liquid vegetable oils.

“…[T]here is a great amount of misinformation about nutrition fads, including antioxidant pills, juicing and gluten-free diets,” Andrew Freeman, the paper’s lead author and director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health, said in a statement.

Instead of chasing claims, make things simpler for yourself by focusing on the fact that a diet that is made up largely of green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits is definitely the best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to heart health.

The review came to a number of conclusions about these trending issues in nutrition. If you’re aiming for a heart-healthy diet, keep these points in mind and post the Table below on your refrigerator:

If people, doctors included, understood the value of nutrition and could discern fact from fiction, not only in heart health but in other areas of medicine, good nutrition's impact on preventing or reducing the rate of heart disease would be great. It’s low-tech, it’s cost-effective and it works when patients take it seriously.

The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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