Bishop Keynote: Science of Nutrition Defining Better Diet Approaches

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, MPH, FACC

Poor diet is recognized as an impediment to cardiovascular health and poor knowledge of the emerging science of diet also is an impediment to cardiovascular health. A growing body of recent research has found common denominators in diets that can have a positive impact on health, but these advances may not be well understood by health care providers.

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, MPH, FACC, the Dean and Jean Mayer Professor at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, will discuss the most effective science-based priorities of diets when he presents today's Louis F. Bishop Keynote. Researchers are starting to catalog thousands of bioactive nutrients, such as phenolics and flavonols, which are different from essential nutrients and can affect general health. In his Keynote, he will discuss the physiologic effects of bioactive nutrients in foods.

The Louis F. Bishop Keynote, "Common Ground: What Do Heart-Healthy Diets Have in Common?" will be presented today during the Lifestyle Medicine Intensive Session I from noon – 1:15 p.m. ET in Room 146C.

He will also explore the role of minimally processed, fiber-rich foods that feed the microbiome. More is being learned about the role of these foods in supporting healthy microbes in the gut, which play a key role in health and disease.

Additionally, Mozaffarian will speak to the need to reduce the intake of acellular carbohydrates, such as starches and sugar that have been refined and processed to be removed from their natural intact plant cellular structures.

Two other factors in a heart-healthy diet that Mozaffarian will also discuss include the negative effects of focusing on the role of any isolated nutrient, such as vitamin D or saturated fat, or only on diet quantity, that is calories, rather than diet quality.

"It is important to review these scientific advances to highlight how the science is converging toward a common set of dietary priorities. Poor diet is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease and overall poor health," he says, adding that poor nutrition contributes to nearly half of the deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the U.S.

Over the last 25 years of my career, I've tried to not rely on conventional thinking but to look at the science objectively and understand how it is relevant to my patients.  

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, MPH, FACC

Mozaffarian says his interest in nutrition started in medical school, where he saw links between poor diet and disease. Since then, those observations have been confirmed by robust science as the science of nutrition has entered a new age.

"We have learned a lot about what defines a healthy diet for heart disease, diabetes and obesity. At the same time, while there is much consensus there is also much uncertainty. For the average cardiologist, what is the best diet may be unclear," he says. "Over the last 25 years of my career, I've tried to not rely on conventional thinking but to look at the science objectively and understand how it is relevant to my patients."

Tackling this subject in his Keynote is a perfect tribute to Louis F. Bishop, MD, who was a founder of the American College of Sports Medicine, Mozaffarian says. "He was ahead of his time in recognizing the importance of lifestyle and prevention."

Keywords: ACC22, ACC Annual Scientific Session, Newspaper Article, ACC Scientific Session Newspaper

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