We debunk five myths about heart-healthy diets and give you truths you can take to heart.
Myth vs. Truth
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, but the good news is that it
can be prevented with lifestyle changes, particularly diet. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about what we
should be eating to keep our hearts beating. With the help of the experts, we debunk five myths about heart-healthy diets and give you truths (and recipes) you can take to heart.
Myth: A low-fat diet prevents heart disease.
Not necessarily. While it's true that a diet high in saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease, other types of fat
are actually good for your heart. When eaten in moderation, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help decrease blood
levels of "bad" cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke. Try Salmon with Almonds and Tomato-Lemon Sauce for a
recipe with three sources of good fat.Recipe: Salmon with Almonds and Tomato-Lemon Sauce
Myth: A low-cholesterol diet prevents heart disease.
This is partially true, but it's not the whole story. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, but
weight, physical activity, age, and gender can also affect cholesterol levels. Plus, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol
are both culprits in raising blood cholesterol, with saturated fat being the ring leader. For a satisfying entrée that is
low in saturated fat and totally cholesterol free, try Asian Noodle, Tofu, and Vegetable Stir-Fry.Recipe: Asian Noodle, Tofu, and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Myth: Salt doesn't matter–only fat.
Salt does matter. Eating less salt/sodium helps to reduce blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks. And a new
study reported by the American Heart Association (AHA) showed that a reduced-sodium intake also decreased the risk of death
from heart disease. The AHA recommends less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, about the equivalent of about 2/3 teaspoon
of salt. When trying to reduce the salt in your diet, don't deprive yourself of flavor. Try Spicy Rubbed Flank Steak with
Spicy Peach-Bourbon Sauce at 425 milligrams sodium per serving.Recipe: Spicy Rubbed Flank Steak with Spicy Peach-Bourbon Sauce
Myth: Foods labeled "trans fat free" are heart-healthy.
Maybe not. Under FDA label regulations, if a serving of food contains 0.5 grams or less trans fats, the label can state "trans
fat free". If one serving contains 0.4 milligrams per serving and you eat four servings, you've eaten close to the recommended
limit of 2 - 2.5 grams per day. Also, some manufacturers are getting around the trans fat ban by replacing trans fats with
saturated fats. Read the labels of all packaged food carefully, and, instead of fast-food fries, try our trans-fat-free Oven-Fries
with Crisp Sage Leaves.Recipe: Oven-Fries with Crisp Sage Leaves
Myth: Sugar is off-limits.
Not true–moderate amounts of sugar are just fine. It's also about choosing your sources of sugar wisely. For example, a smoothie
is a better choice than a soft drink, even though they both contain sugar. Focus on sugar-containing foods that have other
nutrients instead of just empty calories. Of course, if you have diabetes or are trying to lose weight, pay attention to any
type of extra calories, sugar, and carbohydrate because eating too many sugar-containing foods can wreak havoc with blood
sugars and also lead to weight gain.Recipe: Vanilla Honey-Nut Smoothie