Freeman and colleagues reviewed the research on several common “heart-healthy” diet patterns and on major hypes and fads, such as juicing and a gluten-free diet.
Current evidence strongly supports three dietary patterns — the Healthy U.S.-style Pattern, the Healthy Mediterranean-style Pattern and the Healthy Vegetarian Pattern — which include a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts in moderation and may include limited quantities of lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy products and liquid vegetable oils, to reduce the risk for CVD.
As for nutrition fads and controversies, the researchers found that individuals should limit intake of eggs or any other high-cholesterol food. Individuals should avoid solid fats, like coconut oil and palm oil, as they have adverse effects on CVD risk factors, whereas liquid oils have shown to be beneficial for lipids and lipoproteins, with olive oil showing the largest benefit.
The research shows that antioxidants are healthiest and more beneficial when they come from fruit, like berries, rather than a supplement.
Plant-based diets and green leafy vegetables were both found to have significant benefits on CVD risk factors, according to the researchers.
For the juicing fad, the research shows that daily intake is more beneficial when it comes from whole fruits and vegetables, rather than juice. Only in the case of inadequate consumption of these foods could juicing be beneficial.
Aside from those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, who should avoid gluten, there is unsubstantiated evidence that a gluten-free diet is beneficial, according to the researchers.