Our choices have important health implications, and knowledge of the health implications of
individual nutrients can help guide food choices. But nutrients are consumed in the
form of foods that are made up of a multitude of complex constituents, and their interactions
and health effects are not fully understood. Since we eat food, our focus
should be on the selection and consumption of healthy foods. There is substantial
evidence that the adoption of several overall dietary patterns can improve health,
prevent some cancers, improve multiple cardiovascular risk factors, and prevent or
even reverse CVD. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report concluded
that healthy eating patterns can be achieved with a variety of eating styles,
including the “Healthy U.S.-style Pattern,” the “Healthy Mediterranean-style Pattern,”
and the “Healthy Vegetarian-style Pattern.”

The 2015 DGAC found what they called “remarkable consistency” in the findings
and implications of their examination of the association between dietary patterns
and various health outcomes. The 2015 DGAC report states “Common characteristics
of dietary patterns associated with positive health outcomes include higher
intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes,
and nuts; moderate intake of alcohol (among adults); lower consumption of red and
processed meat, and low intake of sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined

Katz and Meller have identified seven basic dietary pattern varieties: low-fat (including
vegetarian and traditional Asian); vegan; Mediterranean; mixed and balanced;
low glycemic; low carbohydrate; and Paleolithic. Among these, epidemiologic
and clinical research suggests that those that are plant-based are the most
likely to improve and preserve health. Two general diet patterns stand out as having
much in common and being much better than the typical American diet—the TAD.
1) whole-food plant-based, including vegetarian, vegan, and traditional Asian diets—
they all may be ultra-low-fat, and; 2) Mediterranean, and the nutritionally similar
mixed and balanced diets. There are differences between them, and discerning,
which is superior is difficult, if not impossible, with the available evidence. In
part, this is because different bodies of evidence from research are referred to and
underlie our knowledge about the links between these differing dietary patterns
and health. For example, some nutrition experts (e.g., Ornish, Esselstyn) advocate
for ultra-low-fat diets, with no more than 10% of total calories from fat. Other
top nutrition experts (e.g., Willett, Hu, Mozaffarian) recommend more mainstream
diets that substitute “healthier” PUFA and MUFA fats for trans and saturated fats.
The pros and cons of these different dietary recommendations will be discussed in following blogs.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel