Asking about a recommended diet is like asking the general motorcycling question, ?What bike should I ride?? Well, it depends! And even after you decide on the style and brand of bike, there?s the question, ?What size engine??, or in this case, ?How many calories?? There are tons of diets out there, some with scientific evidence to support their use and others with fanatical devotees who don?t know what their talking about. The choice of diet depends on goals and medical condition: general health, weight reduction, diabetes control, cholesterol and blood pressure reduction for better cardiovascular health, and renal protection for those with kidney disease to name a few considerations. A general rule, though, is ?everything in moderation?. The Paleo Diet, Lean Eating out of Canada, Mediterranean Diet, DASH diet and others are good general diets with evidence behind them. As a cardiologist, I?m now recommending the DASH diet to many of my patients as it is the recommended diet per guidelines released in November by the American College Cardiology and the American Heart Association. Per those guidelines:
The DASH dietary pattern is high in vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts; and low in sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats. The DASH dietary pattern is low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as protein and fiber.
If this is all overwhelming, there are three things that anyone can do to improve their health right away through sensible eating: 1) avoid processed foods (anything that you open a bag to eat is generally processed - not counting bagged lettuce!); 2) try eating to feeling only 80% full; and 3) have vegetables at every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. With the new year approaching, and for us in New England the riding season not that far away, now?s the time to start new, healthy habits!