Coming This Spring: New Guidelines for a Better Diet
WebMD News Archive
She says oils high in omega-6, such as corn, safflower, sunflower,
cottonseed, sesame oils tend to suppress the immune system and lower both
"good" cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fats
-- the "good" fats -- are found in canola and flaxseed oil as well as
in cold-water fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines. "Any kind of
fish is better than meat, but cold-water is best," she says.
The new AHA guidelines may advise individualized diet plans for people with
specific conditions, like diabetes. "Lipid abnormalities predispose them to
heart disease, so they may need a bit more fat to raise HDL levels," Eckel
says. Also, those people with existing heart disease, whose cholesterol levels
may not be very well controlled, may need stricter fat restrictions.
Dietary guidelines like those issued by the AHA have had positive effects on
Americans' lives, he says. "I think you have to turn back to the 1950s and
1960s, when the relationship between dietary fat and cholesterol and heart
disease was pointed out. Heart disease has fallen pretty dramatically since the
mid-'50s. It's still the number one killer, but yet we have less heart attacks.
People are living longer and not dying early from heart disease. They smoke
less, but diets in general are better than they were."
Still, American Dietetics Association spokesperson Kathleen Zelman says,
Americans are eating too much fat of all types and too few fruits and
vegetables. "You just can't eat processed food anymore," she says.
"It's not good for your immune system; your body is not going to be able to
She says the popularity of the Atkins high-protein diet among many Americans
is of particular concern to her. "Look at the role modeling they're doing
for their children," she says. "That really concerns me in terms of fat
and saturated fat. It also overloads kidneys with too much protein to handle.
That's certainly not the way we want parents to be role modeling."
- The American Heart Association will release new dietary guidelines this
spring. At about the same time, the Department of Agriculture will come out
with similar advisories.
- The guidelines will clarify the roles of different types of fat and will
also address the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.
- The AHA will also offer guidelines tailor-made for people with specific
conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.