Paleo and ketogenic diets are not necessarily good for your heart, according to the American Heart Association. In a recent report, they analyzed some of the most popular diets and ranked them based on how “healthy” they are for your heart.
According to the authors, one of their goals was to refute widespread misinformation about nutrition promoted on social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, which has resulted in a surge of keto and paleo meal plans.
Christopher Gardner, the chair of the committee that authored the report, stated that the amount of misinformation has reached “critical levels” on social media”, which has led many to be confused about heart-healthy eating.
Evaluating the Different Diets
The report, which was published in the journal Circulation on Thursday, was put together by a team of cardiologists, dietitians, nutrition scientists, and other health experts.
More specifically, they took a look at how each of the diets aligned with the guidelines for heart-healthy eating, which is supported by decades of evidence from epidemiological research and randomized controlled trials. The report also evaluated whether or not the diets allowed individuals to customize them based on their personal or cultural preferences.
The guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend eating various fruits and veggies and whole grains such as steel-cut oats, bulgar, brown rice, and lean meats. Foods rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids such as vegetable oils, and olive oils, are also recommended.
The association also recommends limiting foods that are high in sugar and salt. Highly processed foods, such as those made with refined grains (e.g. cookies, cakes, white bread, soft drinks, white pasta, and pastries), should also be limited.
In terms of alcohol, the association recommends limiting your intake if you drink as there’s questionable evidence for whether or not it has a cardiovascular benefit
Low-Carb Diets Are Among the Worst For Your Heart
Low-carb diets such as the paleo and ketogenic diets- the same ones that have been trending on social media- were given the lowest ranking, using a scale of 0 to 100.
For these regimens, individuals must limit their carbohydrate intake to less than 10 percent of their daily calories. While this may help with weight loss by restricting refined grains and sugars, they also require limiting “healthy” carbs such as starchy veggies, beans, fruits, and whole grains. Those who follow these low-carb diets also consume a high amount of fatty meats and other foods that are high in saturated fat.
While some studies have suggested that low-carb diets may help improve triglyceride and blood sugar levels, the improvements are often short-lasting, according to the heart association. In addition, they often cause LDL cholesterol levels to spike, which can increase an individual’s risk of heart disease.
The report found similar issues with the paleo diet, which excludes most dairy products, legumes, vegetable oils, and grains.