Harvard Heart Letter

The new federal dietary guidelines: Are they good for your heart?

When it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease, some experts feel the recommendations may not go far enough.

heart-healthy-diet
Image: Bigstock

Every five years, the U.S. government issues a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a report that "helps Americans make healthy choices for themselves and their families." But if you're concerned about having a heart attack or stroke, the advice in the latest update doesn't entirely agree with what many nutrition experts—as well as the American Heart Association—recommend.

We asked Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, to share his thoughts about where the new guidelines may not be aggressive enough for people at risk for heart disease. Here's his advice on five dietary components of note.

Red meat

red-meat-steakThe guidelines say: A healthy eating pattern includes variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »