– Hello, thank you for visiting this video segment for Dr. AFib, I’m Dr. Morales. In today’s video segment I’m gonna be talking about my diet tips for patients with atrial fibrillation. In 2015, the LEGACY trial was a very In 2015, the LEGACY trial was a very much of a land mark trial which really focused and showed how much weight loss can improve somebody’s atrial fibrillation.
It was such an important trial that those results help make it to the 2019 guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation. And so really has a lot of change in the last few years about an emphasis on weight loss and managing atrial fibrillation, cause it really has data that can show us significant improvement. So in the LEGACY trial, it was a five year study which studied over 350 patients, focusing mostly on weight loss and exercise, and there was no real difference between the groups in terms of other medical treatments that they got.
So, people were, underwent diet treatment with a high protein, low glycemic index diet, as well as low intensity exercise, which is gradually increased over this study period. Now they don’t really go into in the study design too much of what type of diet they used, or what type of food they used, other than it was a high protein, low glycemic index.
But they did find in people who had consistent weight loss had significant benefits in their atrial fibrillation where as the people who had the highest amount of weight loss which is over 10% of their initial body weight, especially if they’re able to maintain that weight loss over the period of the study, had a six fold improvement in their atrial fibrillation. So there was significant improvement in people with atrial fibrillation with about 10% weight loss.
In addition there was also shown to have improvements in their high blood pressure, diabetes, as well as some inflammatory markers. And so weight loss is certainly something that can be very beneficial for people who have atrial fibrillation and represents the best option for natural treatment for someone’s atrial fibrillation. But how do you guide somebody towards a diet types. Patients want a lot guidance, they wanna know what types of diets might be okay. What types may be beneficial.
And that’s what I’m gonna be presenting to you today are my diet tips, or diets that I think are satisfactory and potentially beneficial for patients that have atrial fibrillation. So the first diet that I will recommend is the Medeterranian diet, the Medeterranian diet is the first diet that I typically recommend to my atrial fibrillation patients and it has been the most studied when it comes to patients with all types of heart disease including coronary artery disease, as well as atrial fibrillation as well.
In a 2014 study called the PREDIMED study, they studied over 6000 patients over a period of five years, seeing how much benefit that they got from the Mediterranean diet. Using the traditional staples of the Mediterranean diet as well as supplementing with olive oil. And finally the patients had a significant benefit of a 38% reduction in their atrial fibrillation when they adhere to the Mediterranean diet. Mediterranean diet has been looked at for atrial fibrillation, but also for other health conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and it’s found to have significant benefits in a lot of health areas. And it’s not primarily due to the incident, anti-oxidant effects as well as the antiinflammatory improvement when adhered to this diet.
In the Mediterranean diet it’s a primarily plant based food, focuses things on fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, you replace butter with healthier olive oil and replace other healthy fats with olive oil. Using herbs and spices instead of using salt to season your food. Also limiting red meat with more of an emphasis on fish as well as poultry.
And so those are sort of the main staples of the Mediterranean diet, and there’s plenty of really good cook books available to help you guide people who wanna start the Mediterranean diet. Now the next two diet types that I recommend have not been studied as much, particularly in the scenario patients that have atrial fibrillation. But they have been shown to have improvements in inflammatory markers, and atrial fibrillation has a lot of inflammation involved in it, and so, not particularly studied in atrial fibrillation but I think these are healthy diets that can also benefit people who have atrial fibrillation. One would gluten free diet, the other one would be the Paleo diet.
So in the gluten free diet, gluten free diet basically you’re eliminating gluten which is a protein found in, most commonly in wheat, and rye and barley products. So it really eliminates all the grains that are most commonly available. So all the carbs, all the pastas, pizzas, breads, are eliminated unless they’re specifically made gluten free. Fortunately in today’s world it’s becoming more of a common place to have gluten free diets. So in several super markets you’ll be able to see gluten free breads, pizzas, as well as pastas, and so those are okay.
And gluten free diet has been shown to have improvement in people’s inflammatory markers and may show an improvement in atrial fibrillation as well. And just the natural process of eliminating foods that have either high carbs or flour in it, it’s just a healthier way of eating. And so this is another diet that I typically recommend to my patients.
The last diet that I recommend to patients, which is probably the strictest of all of them, but also may have the biggest health benefit is the Paleo diet. The reason why I like the Paleo diet is because it basically eliminates all processed food. In the Paleo diet, it’s sometimes called the hunter gatherer diet, or the cave man diet, and the basic philosophy of it is that if cave man couldn’t eat it, then you shouldn’t eat it either.
And so it really puts a focus on food in its most natural elements and eliminates all sorts of processed foods and refined sugars which have a lot of added chemicals into them. In a Paleo diet it really puts a focus on eating fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and really kind of keeping everything as basic as possible.
And this may potentially have the best health benefits cause it really eliminates a lot of processed foods which can contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, and may also have benefits for heart disease including atrial fibrillation. So those are sort of my three diet tips. I usually recommend the Mediterranean diet to start off with cause it actually has some data behind it to show that it can be beneficial. And I think it is the least restrictive of these three diet types.
However, with people who may not tolerate the Mediterranean diet, may not like it, or wanna go further on, I think that gluten free diet as well as Paleo diets are also very beneficial diet that can help people with atrial fibrillation. Mostly because their emphasis on eliminating processed foods and making food into more of a natural food and taking away from foods that are more refined sugars. But I emphasize to you that all of these diet types, these are a long term strategy, you can see in the studies that I quoted that patients were studied for five years. None of these diet types are quick fixes, they are part of a improved long term healthy eating habits, which can help you with high blood pressure, diabetes, and weight loss as well as potentially helping you with your atrial fibrillation as well because there’s been a lot of data that shows that weight loss can significantly improve patients that have atrial fibrillation, and it is the best option currently available for a natural treatment for atrial fibrillation.
However always discuss with your doctor which diet type might be right for you. And of course these diet types don’t take the place of guideline recommended medical therapy as prescribed by your doctor. So thank you for visiting this video segment for Dr. Afib, I’ll see you next time. .
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