November 23, 2021 Editorials

New dietary guidance from the American Heart Association

Diet and lifestyle recommendations of the American Heart Association (AHA) published 15 years ago have been recently updated and published in Circulation. This AHA’s scientific statement summarizes the evidence showing that some features of the diet are associated with improvements in cardiometabolic health and a reduced cardiovascular disease risk.

One of the key messages highlighted in the publication is the importance that must be given to dietary patterns beyond individual foods or nutrients to promote cardiometabolic health. According to the AHA, dietary patterns encompass the balance, variety, and combination of foods and beverages habitually consumed, whether prepared and eaten at home or outside the home. Evidence-based dietary guidance to promote cardiometabolic health is provided in the scientific statement. It is proposed that emphasis should be placed on the intake of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy sources of proteins, and liquid plant oils. Moreover, a reduction in the consumption of beverages and foods containing added sugars, ultra-processed foods, processed meats, foods high in salt, alcoholic beverages and tropical oils is recommended. 

The AHA also underlines the critical role of heart-healthy dietary patterns from birth throughout the life span as a means to avoid or delay cardiometabolic complications as well as structural challenges that curb the adoption of dietary patterns compatible with cardiometabolic health.