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How does what we eat affect our heart health and metabolism?

This is a question that many researchers and health professionals are trying to answer.

In a recent review article, the authors explore the complex interactions between dietary components and cardiometabolic disease, which is a term that encompasses conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

They argue that focusing on calories alone is not enough to understand the effects of diet on health, and that we need to consider other factors such as nutrient quality, food processing, gut microbiota, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

The review summarizes the current evidence on how different dietary components, such as fats, carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, can influence cardiometabolic disease through various pathways and mechanisms.

For example, they discuss

  • how saturated fats can increase LDL cholesterol and inflammation,
  • how refined carbohydrates can spike blood glucose and insulin levels,
  • how protein can modulate appetite and energy expenditure,
  • how fiber can improve gut health and lower cholesterol,
  • how antioxidants can protect against oxidative damage and inflammation, and
  • how phytochemicals can modulate gene expression and hormone signaling.

The authors also highlight the gaps in knowledge and the challenges for future research in this field.

The review provides a comprehensive and updated overview of the role of diet in cardiometabolic disease, and suggests that personalized nutrition may be a promising approach to prevent and treat these conditions.

Stanhope, K. L., Goran, M. I., Bosy-Westphal, A., King, J. C., Schmidt, L. A., Schwarz, J.-M., Stice, E., Sylvetsky, A. C., Turnbaugh, P. J., Bray, G. A., Gardner, C. D., Havel, P. J., Malik, V., Mason, A. E., Ravussin, E., Rosenbaum, M., Welsh, J. A., Allister-Price, C., Sigala, D. M., … Krauss, R. M. (2018). Pathways and mechanisms linking dietary components to cardiometabolic disease: Thinking beyond calories: Diet and cardiometabolic disease. Obesity Reviews, 19(9), 1205–1235. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12699

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