Q&A: What is the Best Diet for Heart Health and Weight Loss?

HeartHawk
By HeartHawk Latest Reply 2012-05-23 07:25:10 -0500
Started 2011-03-14 08:01:55 -0500

Confused about the best heart health and weight-loss diet? From the Dr. Dean Ornish low-fat diet to the Dr. Bill Davis low-carb/no-wheat I have tried them all.

Most recently, I posted two articles here at Alliance Health on the USDA Food Pyramid (http://www.heartconnect.com/news-articles/123...) and one on BMI and fat accumulation (http://www.heartconnect.com/news-articles/123...).

Even I admit to confusion from time to time and question who and what diet choices to trust. I thought I would start a discussion to share our community experience and to answer any questions based on what I have learned and experienced.

So, what have you been eating that may be "eating" you?

HH


20 replies

carolnsteve
carolnsteve 2012-05-22 20:31:19 -0500 Report

I have tried lots of diets too. The best for me is the South Beach diet. It helps me eat healthy fats and low carbs. A year ago I lost 20 lbs and have kept it off. My doctor wants me to lose 10 more pounds. This is very hard. I am having trouble getting it off. I eat lots of veggies, fish, chicken and occassionaly have organic beef. Rarely I eat fruit other than berries. I have stopped drinking caffeine because of the PVC in my heart. Greatly helped. I exercise 5 days a week walking and some weight lifting. Any suggestions?

LennyDenny
LennyDenny 2011-04-20 12:47:28 -0500 Report

When I had my heart attack 7 years ago the drs. put me on a mediterranean diet, it allows you to eat a lot of fish, white meat and veggies and fruit in moderation. Like every diet you have to count your carb and sodium and eat low saturated fats. I still have some problems but it is fairly easy to stick to this diet because it allows you to eat such a variety.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-04-20 22:36:56 -0500 Report

Lenny:

It took some doing to move from low fat to low carb. Yes, the trick is to "learn" a new variety of foods to eat based on a whole new set of restrictions and allowances.

HH

Food Passionisto
Food Passionisto 2011-04-19 21:08:20 -0500 Report

best diet? it all points to whole natural plant based eating foundations —miicro-nutrient rich, high in complex carbohydrates and low in simple carbohydrates, lower levels of protein than most Americans think, but with much to think about in terms of good fat versus low fat in the context of risk factors and taste preferences. Note: not necessarily vegan, just that animal-based foods play a much smaller role.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-04-19 23:04:15 -0500 Report

FP,

Good analysis! Get the nutrients you need, lose the foods that provide blood sugar spikes, add the "good" fats back. Unfortunately, the whole agri-business model has been co-opted by the low-fat crowd so we are bombarded by refined carbs that instantly turn into sugars.

HH

Food Passionisto
Food Passionisto 2011-04-20 06:51:47 -0500 Report

You got this right…but again, on the flip side, the low-carb movement that has moved some to high sat fat eating, often depleted of the micronutrients is no better. Anybody still askiing if they should be on a low-carb, low-fat or high protein diet is simply asking the wrong question. How about a vegetable bourguignon (perhaps with a small amount of beef for flavor and texture) or a whole grain paella?

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-04-20 22:45:19 -0500 Report

FP,

Bingo! I am right with you on everything except for the whole grain thing. I would contend that any carb that is milled will increase its reactive surface area and become a high glycemic index food and that modern wheat and its associated proteins are particularly nasty. Perhaps ancient wheat such as einkorn is better than modern triticale variants which have triple thenumber of chromosomes (14 vs 42) due to genetic engineering. I am a definite "wheat-o-phobe," lol!

HH

Food Passionisto
Food Passionisto 2011-04-21 06:54:19 -0500 Report

interesting proposition…what we strive for in the Kardea Kitchen is finding a better balance…not like the ballance our Mom's thought about —- the protein, the starch and the vegetables…but having enough of what is good to assure that the postmeal metabolism—- from the perspective of blood sugar, blood lipids, blood pressure and inflammation —- are burning in life-supporting control as opposed to a artery damaging wildfire. Translated —- if you are still loving pasta, try a pasta fagiole that contains 1/3 high fiber pasta, 1/3 vegetables, 1/3 beans. While there may be a somewhat higher glycemic ingredeint, the meal itself has a low glycemic load. Here is to taking a healthy — and delicious —- bite out of life!

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-04-23 18:47:25 -0500 Report

FP,

Another good point! Glycemic Load is more important than glyceminc Index. Some people will eat a bushel of low GI food not realizing the huge portions they eat dumps an equally huge glycemic load on their bodies. Similarly, you can eat high GI foods as long as the portions are miniscule.

HH

AngelynG
AngelynG 2011-03-21 22:51:28 -0500 Report

As my friends know, I was diagnosed in August 2010 w/ALL of my heart problems. I was placed on low sodium (1000-1500 mg daily) & low saturated fat "diet". I have been losing weight at a slow but consistant rate…about 1 # every 2-3 weeks. My Cardiologist is very happy with this as I am.
I use a guide online @ smartbalance.com & it has given me a lot of ideas to help curb sodium. I have also been trying/testing recipes (If anyone wants to try something I've devised, just let me know). While shopping, I try to choose the lowest % of fat when it comes to turkey & other meats…believe it or not, ground turkey can be high in fat if you're not careful.
I am now using Orrowheat "thin buns" instead of any other types of bread - watch the label.
My cholesterol levels & fluid retention levels are teriffic so I guess I'm doing something right!

re1ndeer
re1ndeer 2011-03-16 07:53:30 -0500 Report

I was on a 1600 calorie Diabetes diet, when I was hit with the warfarin for my AFib problem. Now it is very hard to get greens into your diet when you are limited by what you can eat.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-03-16 08:07:32 -0500 Report

re1ndeer,

Can you describe or point to a resource that describes your Diabetes diet. What were you encouraged and forbidden to eat? 1600 calories seems a bit low unless it is specifically designed to drop weight rapidly. What is yor BMI and activity/exercise level?

HH

HH

re1ndeer
re1ndeer 2011-03-16 08:44:02 -0500 Report

While I was hospitalized last year, The doctor had sent in a dietician/CDE to see me, she handed me a booklet with what diabetic foods I was alowed to eat.

That was great. Two months later when I had an appointment with my cardiologist, since I've had this AFib problem for about almost 5 years, he decided to take me off the baby aspirin I was on and put me on warfarin.

He gave me a little booklet on coumadin (warfarin), where it listed quite alot of foods that I was to limit or give up permently. I was told no, NEVER can I eat mangos, or cranberries. Limit the amount of greens I put into my diet. If I don't eat them normaly (like daily) to take them out of my diet as it will shake-up my blood numbers. I occasionally like to eat Broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc…

At first I was going every week to get blood drawn, this was for about 2 months, now I go monthly. But, I'm on quite alot of warfarin, 2 days a week I take 10 mg, and the remaining 5 days a week I take 7.5 mg.

My BMI is 40 (I'm morbid obese), and my activity level is quite limited as I have had a shattered femur (split from the hip bone to knee bone), I get around by cane. I have a glidder machine which takes weight off your feet to exercise, I do this about 20 minutes a day.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-03-18 00:54:47 -0500 Report

re1ndeer,

Great start! 20 minutes a day is pretty good given all your health issues. If you can get up to 30 minutes you will be doing fantastic! Everyone dealiing with heart disease needs to work on loweing their BMI so it looks liek they have you on the right track with diet and exercise.

You might ask your doc about Pradaxa instead of warfarin as it does not require the constant blood monitoring.

HH

LennyDenny
LennyDenny 2011-03-14 14:35:48 -0500 Report

I started on the Mediterranean diet right after my heart attack - It's what the doctor recommended. A lot of fish, and chicken and turkey, a little pork now and then. Fresh fruits and veggies when they are available. It's what I'm still on today. Until you get use to it you have to watch portion size, it tell you how much to weigh and measure and as I said once you used to it, it comes fairly easy. I thought it was pretty boring at first, but once you get into it you can find all kinds of combinations. The dr. still asks about it from time to time.
Denny

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-03-16 08:10:45 -0500 Report

Denny,

Looks like my reply was delayed or lost. Yes, the Med Diet is a great one for heart disease in that it is relatively low-cab and full of healthy oils.

HH