A cardiologist on the new Pesco-Mediterranean diet, and what’s best for heart health


Selecting the correct food regimen could be a problem. Is your main purpose weight reduction or coronary heart well being? The keto food regimen, low in sugar and carbs, helps with fast weight reduction, however is just not particularly cardiac pleasant, and is tough to keep up perpetually. A food regimen will be vegetarian, but filled with sugar and different empty carbs.

For years, I’ve felt that the most effective cardiac food regimen is a Mediterranean food regimen, filled with omega-3 fatty acids from fish, wealthy in olive oil, and with few easy carbohydrates. A current article printed within the Journal of the American Faculty of Cardiology proposes a brand new food regimen, known as “A Pesco-Mediterranean Weight loss program with Intermittent Fasting,” based on a review of the science behind weight-reduction plan. It makes a powerful case that this food regimen could also be greatest for a lot of Individuals for long-term cardiac well being, longevity, and sustainability. Right here is my perspective on the brand new food regimen, and the easiest way to observe it:

  1. Fish is the first supply of protein. Larger fish consumption (so long as it’s not fried), akin to salmon, sardines, and trout, is necessary, as they’ve extra omega-3 fatty acids, and are low in mercury. Different sorts of seafood akin to scallops, lobster, and clams are good however have decrease omega-3 content material.

  2. Olive oil is nice, however not all types. Not like the frequent model of olive oil, which is refined, use further virgin olive oil (EVOO). That is unrefined and may help lower cholesterol, cut back irritation, and reduce the chance of diabetes.

  3. Tree nuts are necessary. The PREDIMED study supplemented a Mediterranean food regimen with blended walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. One each day serving led to a 28% discount in cardiac threat, however consuming too many nuts impacts weight reduction, and can lead to gastrointestinal misery.

  4. Lower out meat as a lot as doable, particularly processed meat.

  5. Legumes akin to lentils, beans, and peas are inspired.

  6. One of many main variations between this food regimen and the Mediterranean food regimen is permitting eggs. Although egg yolks include round 200 mg of ldl cholesterol, the authors level out that current trials counsel that egg consumption doesn’t enhance the chance of growing coronary artery illness. They advocate as much as 5 yolks per week and limitless egg whites.

  7. Dairy merchandise are allowed, as they contribute necessary vitamins, together with protein, minerals, and vitamin D. Really helpful dairy contains low-fat yogurt and smooth cheeses. Butter and onerous cheeses are discouraged, as they’re excessive in saturated fat and salt.

  8. Sugar must be restricted. Water, both common or fizzy, is the really helpful drink, reflecting the significance of reducing sugar in drinks.

  9. Advanced carbohydrates, from complete grains akin to barley, complete oats, brown rice, and quinoa, are an integral a part of each this food regimen and the standard Mediterranean food regimen. White bread, pasta, and pizza usually are not.

  10. Probably the most controversial a part of this plan is intermittent fasting. The food regimen is great with out including the fasting, and I think the authors counsel it to assist differentiate their food regimen from the traditional Mediterranean food regimen. Time-restricted consuming, a type of intermittent fasting that’s advised, means no consuming for six to 16 hours per day. The authors cite proof that in a single day fasting enhances coronary heart well being. The preferred type of time-restricted consuming is to eat two meals a day somewhat than three and to do that as a fasting-to-eating ratio of 16:8 hours.

  11. Alcohol is allowed, ideally one glass of purple wine an evening.

Apart from the fasting, this food regimen makes a variety of sense. It’s primarily based on science and is slightly simpler to observe than the traditional Mediterranean food regimen. In case you are a carnivore, it does imply giving up meat. The intermittent fasting might grow to be useful, however extra analysis is required earlier than I’d advocate this. My conclusion was reaffirmed by another article published this week, which confirmed no change in weight reduction or different metabolic indicators, akin to glucose, when time-restricted consuming was straight in contrast with consuming all through the day. As an alternative, one other method could also be to not eat any meals after 8 p.m. and remove nighttime snacking. This is able to enable a comparatively painless 10 to 12 hour quick each night time, getting the good thing about lowered insulin ranges and lowered consumption of wasted nighttime energy.

David Becker is a frequent Inquirer contributor and a board-certified heart specialist with Chestnut Hill Temple Cardiology in Flourtown. He has been in observe for greater than 25 years.

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