American Heart Association Releases the First Updated Dietary Guidelines in 15 Years

Adopting a heart-healthy diet isn’t about drastically changing your diet or restricting yourself to “good” foods that you don’t especially like, according to the American Heart Association’s new dietary recommendations.

“We recommend that you find a dietary pattern that’s consistent with what you enjoy but is still heart-healthy,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, chair of the writing group for the AHA statement and senior scientist and director of cardiovascular nutrition team at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

“What we’ve learned is that when people try to make drastic changes in their diet because they suddenly decide they want to get healthier, they frequently don’t stick with those changes for a long period of time,” she says. If you make changes within your current dietary pattern that consider factors such as affordability, availability, convenience, and what you like to eat, it’s more likely to become more of a way of life, Dr. Lichtenstein.

2 out of 3 Heart Disease–Related Deaths May Be Prevented by a Better Diet

“People do look to the American Heart Association for dietary guidance, and the last statement issued was 15 years ago; it was time to update it,” says Lichtenstein. The new guidance was published on November 2, 2021, in the AHA’s flagship journal, Circulation.

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