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  • Dr. Pat McShane

What's the Best Diet?

Updated: Jan 25

The seemingly endless list of “best diets” continues – for overall health, weight loss, specific performance issues, etc.  The New York Times bestseller list is laden with various diet books from various authors, many with weighty (pun intended!) credentials.  What’s a person to believe?

            The American Heart Association (AHA) did us all a favor recently ranking the most popular diets for their “heart health”.  Remember that cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death for women, especially over age 60, in the world.  So “heart healthy” gets my attention!

            Several of the popular diets are similar in their basic, plant-forward approach – Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH), Mediterranean, pescatarian and basic vegetarian.  These eating plans had the highest scores in the AHA analysis.  At the low end of the scoring were several weight loss plans – paleolithic (“paleo”) and ketogenic (“keto”) diets received low scores because of the restriction of certain food groups containing essential elements. In the mid-range were vegan, very low fat, low carb and similar plans, also because of the restrictions on critical dietary elements.  The low carb and keto diets also lead to consumption of high amounts of saturated fats.  This is at odds with heart healthy eating patterns. All of the healthy eating plans emphasize limitation/elimination of sugary drinks, sweets and added sugars.

            Much of the medical literature touts the dementia prevention aspects of  the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), merging elements of the 2 eating plans. 

More info here and here.


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