August 5, 2010

Low Carb Diet May Increase Good Cholesterol Better Than Low Fat Diet

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , at 11:55 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by Carlos Porto

In terms of diets, many options are available to those who want a healthier lifestyle.  Traditionally, the low fat diet was considered the best type for heart disease patients.  “Low fat” means eating 20 grams or less of total fat per day. The American Heart Association takes the low fat diet standpoint one step further by recommending as little trans fat or saturated fat as possible.  People now also have the option of the popular Adkins diet which is a low carbohydrate lifestyle that does not limit fat at all.  On the up side, low carb diet means a person can eat bacon, any kind of meat and most vegetables.  On the down side, low carb basically means no breads, pasta, fruits or sugary foods.   Other diet options include the Mediterranean diet and the South Beach Diet which use whole grains for carbs and good fats such as olive oil.

A new study has found that low fat versus low carb actually gives low carb a bit of an advantage.  Over 300 participants over 2 years were placed on either a low fat or low carb diet.  Both groups lost a similar amount of weight.  The main difference was that low carb participants had significantly higher HDL (good cholesterol).  See the study report at

Personally, I think this indicates that low fat is not necessarily the entire picture of healthy living.  The refined grains found in most of Americans’ diet are not beneficial to our health!  The people who ate low carb were cutting back on the refined grains like white bread, cookies, cakes and white rice.  There are more and more studies proving the health benefits of whole grains and good fat (see  A Lesson In Whole Grains and How To Eat More Of The Good Fats Like Omega-3).

No matter which diet you choose, make sure you add whole grains and stick to your diet.  Changing to a new diet every week will confuse your body and make for a harder weight loss.  Whatever you choose, make it a priority to eat healthy and exercise.  Your heart will thank you for it!

March 25, 2010

Can Heart Disease Patients Drink Coffee?

Posted in Heart Disease in the News tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:29 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

The debate over the effects of coffee on the heart has been ongoing for many years now.  We all know that regular coffee contains a significant amount of caffeine which is a stimulant.  For the most part, cardiologists advise their heart patients to avoid stimulants because it can cause palpitations and racing of the heart.  For avid coffee drinkers this has always been a difficult piece of advice to follow!

Good news for coffee drinkers worldwide!  A new study out of California indicates that coffee is probably okay for people who already drink it.  The study reviewed data from over 130,000 patients and concluded that people who already drank more than 4 cups of coffee a day were 18% less likely to be admitted to the hospital with a heart rhythm disturbance.

It is important to note that this study was not designed to evaluate the effects of coffee on plaque buildup in the arteries, heart attacks or heart-related deaths.  The data obtained from the study reviewed the effects of coffee on the rhythm of the heart.  However, many heart disease patients do have an increased risk for heart rhythm disturbances so multiple cardiologists may change their advise overall based on this study.   According to the researchers, their recommendation is to allow the frequent coffee-drinkers to continue drinking as usual without the fear of causing further heart problems.  Also, for patients who do not already drink coffee, jumping up to drinking 4 cups a day is probably not a good idea!  Either way, there is no need for anyone to change their coffee-drinking habits unless your doctor specifically advises you otherwise.  To review the article about this study, go to