I am
Why your heart doesn’t love fad diets (and what to eat instead in 2020)
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Why your heart doesn’t love fad diets (and what to eat instead in 2020)

Media Release - 8 January 2020

Your Instagram feed may be flooded with New Year diets promising to melt away the holiday kilos, but the Heart Foundation is advising Aussies to forget the fads and eat for a healthy ticker in 2020.

The reminder to steer clear of fad diets and focus on healthier options comes as many people resolve to overhaul their eating habits in the aftermath of the festive season.

Heart Foundation Director of Health Strategy, Julie Anne Mitchell, says diets promoting unrealistic weight loss or restricting food groups and nutrients can be a recipe for disaster for your health.

“The latest diet trends are on everyone’s lips each January, but we don’t recommend ‘quick fix’ fad diets or cutting out whole food groups, as we need a variety of foods each day to maintain good health, manage our weight and reduce our risks for chronic diseases,” Ms Mitchell said.

Instead, we’re encouraging people to make small changes for a healthier lifestyle and think nutritious and delicious by filling up on plenty of colourful fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, a variety of healthy proteins and fats, with smaller amounts of animal-based foods.

“Looking at the whole plate is also important. Eggs served with spinach, mushrooms and wholegrain bread, for example, will be a better choice than eggs with bacon and white bread.”

The Heart Foundation would like to see everyone tuck into more vegetables this year, with a staggering portion – more than 90% – of us not getting the recommended five serves a day.

“Adding just one extra serve of vegetables to your daily intake has heart health benefits, so eating more greens is a great goal. If all Australians met the vegetables target, it could cut the risk of cardiovascular diseases by about 16% and save $1.4 billion in health spending,” Ms Mitchell said.

Eating more plant-based foods for good heart health formed part of the Heart Foundation’s new dietary recommendations, unveiled in August following an extensive review of evidence.

The updated advice added a limit of less than 350 grams a week for unprocessed red meats and lifted the limit on how many eggs healthy Australians can eat in a week. For people with heart disease, high cholesterol or Type 2 diabetes, it’s best to eat fewer than seven eggs a week.

Unflavoured, full-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt are back on the menu for healthy people if they prefer it, while those with high cholesterol or heart disease should stick to reduced-fat dairy.

“Poor diet is the leading contributor to heart disease, so healthy eating and drinking is a vital part of protecting your ticker,” Ms Mitchell said.

You can start the year on a heart-healthy note by enjoying a variety of nutritious dishes, limiting highly processed foods and alcohol, being smoke-free and looking for ways to get moving daily.

What a healthy plate looks like

  • As a guide, half your plate should be filled with a variety of colourful fruit and vegetables.
  • A quarter should be wholegrains, such as wholegrain bread or rice, or cereal grains such as buckwheat or corn.
  • The rest should be made up of healthy proteins – choose from beans, lentils, fish and seafood, with smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry. If choosing red meat, make it lean and limit to 1-3 meals a week. Unflavoured milk, cheese or yoghurt can be included in a healthy meal or as a snack.


Media enquiries

Brigid Simeoni, Media Advisor
M: 0427 619 589 E: brigid.simeoni@heartfoundation.org.au

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Research Directory

Research Directory

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

The fundraising race where you set the pace. Run, jog or walk MyMarathon at your own pace during October....

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a condition where your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be....

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Find heart healthy beef recipes....

3 Minute Research Competition Terms & Conditions

3 Minute Research Competition Terms & Conditions

Clinical guidelines and position statements

Clinical guidelines and position statements

Clinical guidelines and position statements

We have developed a range of resources for you to use as part of routine care. ...

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

Kim shares the emotional and physical upheaval experienced on her journey to diagnosis and recovery....

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

This cardiac services directory presents information on cardiac rehab programs offered across Australia....

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

40-50 minutes
Serves 6

Mighty mango smoothie

Mighty mango smoothie

Mighty mango smoothie

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Would you like to improve the cardiovascular health of your patients?...

Is salt bad for your heart?

Is salt bad for your heart?

Is salt bad for your heart?

Most Australians are eating more than the recommended amounts and this can cause health problems....

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Eating healthy foods can help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. ...

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

Getting the right balance of fats in your diet can improve your heart health....

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Confidential. Personal. Reliable.

Confidential. Personal. Reliable.

Confidential. Personal. Reliable.

Got a question about your heart?...

Apple & honey nut crumble oats

Apple & honey nut crumble oats

Apple & honey nut crumble oats

10 minutes

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

We need your opinion, experience and skills to help us improve the heart health of all Australians. ...

Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart Bypass Surgery

Coronary bypass surgery is a common procedure that can dramatically improve the health of your heart. ...

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Many different thoughts may go through your head after a heart attack and you may be presented with complicated medical info. Know where to get support. ...

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

Resources for providing best practice cardiovascular care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples....

Snack recipes

Snack recipes

Snack recipes

Search for healthy snack ideas...

Paprika chicken with pumpkin and spinach salad

Paprika chicken with pumpkin and spinach salad

32 minutes
Serves 4

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Search our heart healthy dinner recipes for tonights main meal...

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Every day, 22 women lose their lives to this condition....

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Find heart healthy Asian recipes....

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

Should population-based CVD risk assessment models make way for individualised risk prediction techniques?...

Heart Foundation reviews its operations in challenging financial environment

Heart Foundation reviews its operations in challenging financial environment

Heart Foundation reviews its operations in challenging financial environment

6 September 2021...