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Paleo, keto diets may harm heart health, report says

  • A new report lists Paleo and keto diets as the least heart-healthy
  • The diets emphasize nuts and fish and restrict carbohydrates
  • The DASH diet topped the American Heart Association's rankings

(NewsNation) — While popular for losing weight, ketogenic and paleo diets may be detrimental for cardiovascular health, according to a new report.

The American Heart Association developed a ranking of the 10 healthiest diets for your heart, a list released Thursday in the journal Circulation. It put paleo and keto diets at the very bottom, citing the plans’ reliance on fats from animal sources and lack of carbohydrates.

“Although a balanced VLCD/ketogenic or paleo diet can have healthy attributes, patients should be counseled that overconsuming fatty meats and sodium may be detrimental to health,” the report states. “In addition, VCLD/ketogenic diets are high in fat without limiting saturated fat, leading to increases in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.”

The report goes on to say some keto dieters experience “keto flu,” with symptoms including headache, fatigue and constipation at the beginning of the diet. Those symptoms usually subside, but the restrictive nature of the diets “likely limits long-term adherence rates.”

At the top of the AHA’s list is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet. It emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy, includes lean meats and limits saturated fat and added sugars.

The AHA ranked a Mediterranean diet as the second most heart healthy, with pescatarian coming in third and ovo/lacto vegetarian diets in fourth.

“These 4 dietary patterns are flexible, providing a broad array of healthy foods from which to choose,” the AHA said of the diets. “Moreover, with few restricted foods and food groups, it is relatively easy to adhere to this guidance wherever food is prepared or consumed.”

The committee ranked the diets based on how well they adhere to the AHA’s guidelines for a healthy heart.


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