General medicine

The researches find that the healthy body weight is one key to preventing cardiovascular disease. But even experts don’t agree on the best way to achieve that goal; with some recommending eliminating carbohydrates and others emphasizing reducing fats to lose weight. Few studies have investigated the effects of these specific macro nutrients on cardiovascular health. In a study published online in the International Journal of Cardiology; researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) examined the effects of three healthy diets emphasizing different macro nutrients carbohydrates, proteins, or unsaturated fats on a biomarker that directly reflects heart injury.

Healthy diets emphasizing

Using highly specific tests; the team found that all three diets reduced heart cell damage and inflammation, consistent with improved heart health. “It’s possible that macro nutrients matter less than simply eating healthy foods;” said corresponding author Stephen Juraschek, MD, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at BIDMC and Harvard Medical School. “Our findings support flexibility in food selection for people attempting to eat a healthier diet and should make it easier.

With the average American eating fewer than two servings of fruit and vegetables a day, the typical American diet is quite different from any of these diets, which all included at least four to six servings of fruits and vegetables a day.” Juraschek and colleagues analyzed stored blood samples from 150 participants of the Optimal Macro Nutrient Intake Trial to Prevent Heart Disease (OmniHeart) trial, a two-center; inpatient feeding study conducted in Boston and Baltimore between April 2003 and June 2005.

Elevated blood pressure

The average age among the study participants was 53.6 years, while 55% were African American and 45% were women. The participants all of whom had elevated blood pressure; but were not yet taking medications to control hypertension or cholesterol were fed each of three diets emphasizing carbohydrates, protein, or unsaturated fat for six weeks with feeding periods separated by a washout period. The diets were: a carbohydrate-rich diet similar to the well-known DASH diet, with sugars, grains and starches accounting for more than half of its calories.

A protein-rich diet with 10% of calories from carbohydrates replaced by protein; and an unsaturated fat-rich diet with 10% of calories from carbohydrates replaced by the healthy fats found in avocados; fish and nuts.  All three diets were low in unhealthy saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, while providing other nutrients at recommended dietary levels. The research team looked at the effects of each diet on biomarkers measured at the end of each dietary period compared to baseline and compared between diets.