(Family Features) Eating healthy is an important goal for people looking to maintain or improve their physical health, particularly as it relates to the heart. With often conflicting information available online and via social media, it may be difficult or downright confusing to find the eating plan for you.
To help navigate the maze of information – and misinformation – experts assessed and scored the heart healthiness of several popular diets. Each diet was evaluated against the American Heart Association’s guidance for a heart-healthy eating pattern, which emphasizes eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins (including fish, low- or non-fat dairy and plant proteins), non-tropical plant oils and minimally processed foods; avoiding added sugars, salt and alcohol; and sticking to this guidance even when you’re eating away from home.
Diets received a rating between 0-100 and were ranked in tiers, with the resulting analysis published as an American Heart Association scientific statement in the journal “Circulation.”
“If implemented as intended, the top-tier dietary patterns align best with key features of heart-healthy eating and may be adapted to respect cultural practices, food preferences and budgets to enable people to eat this way for the long term,” said Christopher D. Gardner, Ph.D., FAHA, chair of the scientific statement writing committee and the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor of Medicine at Stanford University.
Tier 1: Highest-Rated Eating Plans (scores higher than 85)
The four patterns with the highest ratings align best with heart-healthy guidance, are flexible and provide an array of healthy foods to choose from.
Tier 2: Vegan and Low-Fat Diets (scores 75-85)
These eating patterns mostly align with heart-healthy criteria and emphasize important food groups but fell short of reaching the top tier due to limitations.
To find the full results and learn more about heart-healthy eating, visit Heart.org.
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