It appears that no matter which risk factor we look at in terms of developing heart disease, they all have a common thread – our weight. Let’s face it. After a certain age, most of us simply don’t maintain the same “girlish” figure that we had in our 20s.
Despite good intentions, most of us don’t maintain the same activity level as we age, either. Worse still, many of us are trapped in jobs where we have “working” lunches that consist of sitting at our desk while tied to a conference call or frantically typing on the keyboard in order to resolve a problem or meet a deadline created by someone else’s failure-to-plan. No matter your individual circumstance, the end result is the same – more food – less activity resulting in more weight on our bodies than is conducive to a healthy heart.
Since I fall into this category, I went on a search to determine what diet is “best” if I want to have a healthy heart. Please don’t get me wrong. If dieting were an Olympic sport, I’d definitely be a contender for the gold medal! I’ve tried my fair share of diets, doing my part to contribute to the economy and keep the diet gurus in business! However, this is different. If I want a healthy heart, then weight and diet are only one of the risk factors to be addressed. I need a diet that will not only enable me to lose weight and maintain that weight loss, but that will fit into my lifestyle as well so that I can eliminate one set of risk factors permanently.
I found an excellent article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association about a study that specifically compared the various popular diets from the viewpoint of heart health. The study was conducted by researches at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The diets evaluated were as follows: the Ornish Plan, the Zone Diet, Atkins, two different Weight Watchers plans, the South Beach Diet, the New Glucose Revolution, and the 2005 MyPyramid Plan. Since this was a study focused on popular diet plans, the American Heart Association diet plan recommendations were not included in this study.