Alternatives for macronutrient intake and chronic disease: a comparison of the OmniHeart diets with popular diets and with dietary recommendations
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BACKGROUND: Enhancements to current dietary advice to prevent chronic disease are of great clinical and public health importance. The OmniHeart Trial compared 3 diets designed to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk-one high in carbohydrate and 2 that replaced carbohydrate with either unsaturated fat or protein. The lower carbohydrate diets improved the CVD risk factors. Several popular diets claiming health benefits emphasize carbohydrate, fat, or protein or various combined approaches. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to compare the macronutrient contents of the OmniHeart trial diets to those of several popular diets and to evaluate each diet for consistency with national health guidelines. DESIGN: The macronutrient contents of 7-d menu plans from the OmniHeart Study, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), Zone, Atkins, Mediterranean, South Beach, and Ornish diets were evaluated for consistency with the US Food and Nutrition Board's Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDRs) and with the dietary recommendations of several health organizations. RESULTS: The OmniHeart diets fulfilled the major AMDRs, but, of the popular diets, only the Zone diet did. The OmniHeart diets were generally consistent with national guidelines to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, whereas most popular diets had limitations for fulfilling one or more guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: Although the OmniHeart protein and unsaturated fat diets were superior to the carbohydrate diet in improving CVD risk, all 3 study diets were consistent with national guidelines to reduce chronic disease risk, which suggests that the guidelines might now be fine-tuned to optimize disease prevention. Popular diets vary in their nutritional adequacy and consistency with guidelines for risk reduction.
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