Vegan, DASH, Mediterranean: What’s a Dieter to Do?

How many different eating patterns – or types of diet – can you name?

I just returned from the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and canstockphoto15257697Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), where I was invited to speak about the research on dietary patterns and the practical take-home messages that stem from that research. AACVPR is a multidisciplinary group of health professionals who help people recover following a heart attack, heart surgery or chronic respiratory disease.

Just as in studies of diet and cancer risk, research related to heart disease increasingly emphasizes that it’s not individual nutrients or even specific foods, but overall eating patterns that make a key difference. Conference attendees included physicians, nurses, exercise physiologists, psychologists and dietitians. All hear patient questions about the Mediterranean diet, vegan diet, DASH diet and more, including confusion over headlines that identify each of these as “best”.

So what’s the best diet? I was speaking to a room so over-filled with health professionals wanting to hear about this that conference organizers set up a “satellite room” for the overflow. Continue reading