The Right Food Plan for Cardiometabolic Patients

Given the stunning rise in cardiometabolic syndrome in the US,1,2 sustainable lifestyle interventions that can prevent and reverse this condition are vital. In a recent evaluation of the state of diabetes care in the US, researchers reporting in JAMA found that “advances in diabetes care over the past decade have not translated into meaningful improvement in population-level treatment outcomes.”3 Furthermore, the study’s findings suggest that gaps in diabetes care continue to persist, particularly among younger adults age 18-44, women, and nonwhite individuals.3

What can clinicians do to help curb this trend? The best place to start for most patients is with diet and lifestyle modifications. IFM’s Cardiometabolic Food Plan is a tool that contains the resources and information for clinicians to work with patients to help them transition to healthier eating patterns that support cardiac health. In the following video, IFM educator Elizabeth Boham, MD, MS, RD, talks about what she looks for in a patient to determine whether the Cardiometabolic Food Plan is right for them.

Elizabeth Boham, MD, MS, RD, is board certified in family medicine and is a registered dietician.

Learn more about Functional Medicine and cardiometabolic conditions

IFM’s Cardiometabolic Food Plan is designed for patients at risk of or diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or metabolic conditions, which share many underlying causes, including increased inflammation,2 insulin resistance,4 and stress.5 The plan has the following features:

  • A modified Mediterranean diet, focusing on the heart-healthy elements6
  • A low glycemic impact
  • Personalized, targeted calorie recommendations
  • Blood sugar balancing
  • High fiber, low simple sugars
  • Balanced, quality fats
  • Condition-specific phytonutrients

IFM’s Cardiometabolic Food Plan includes a Comprehensive Guide that provides an overview of and the rationale for the plan, as well as clear guidance on therapeutic foods, customization for specific conditions, and answers to frequently asked questions. A weekly food planner paired with a food list for easy shopping enables patients to take charge of their own health. A robust bibliography provides the research background for how and why this food plan has such an effect on health outcomes.

The Cardiometabolic Food Plan is just one of several therapeutic food plans available as part of IFM’s Toolkit. The toolkit contains a wide range of patient education materials and resources for clinical care. To gain access to these tools, clinicians can either become an IFM member or attend IFM’s foundational course, Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP). To learn more about cardiometabolic conditions, please see the following IFM-authored articles.

Learn More About Cardiometabolic Function

The cardiometabolic-focused physical exam

Exercise prescriptions for cardiometabolic health


  1. Aguilar M, Bhuket T, Torres S, Liu B, Wong RJ. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in the United States, 2003-2012. JAMA. 2015;313(19):1973-1974. doi:1001/jama.2015.4260
  2. Moore JX, Chaudhary N, Akinyemiju T. Metabolic syndrome prevalence by race/ethnicity and sex in the United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-2012. Prev Chronic Dis. 2017;14:E24. doi:5888/pcd14.160287
  3. Kazemian P, Shebl FM, McCann N, Walensky RP, Wexler DJ. Evaluation of the cascade of diabetes care in the United States, 2005-2016. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(10):1376-1385. doi:1001/jamainternmed.2019.2396
  4. Mazidi M, Shivappa N, Wirth MD, et al. Dietary inflammatory index and cardiometabolic risk in US adults. Atherosclerosis. 2018;276:23-27. doi:1016/j.atherosclerosis.2018.02.020
  5. Salt IP. Examining the role of insulin in the regulation of cardiovascular health. Future Cardiol. 2013;9(1):39-52. doi:2217/fca.12.77
  6. Pérez-Martínez P, Mikhailidis DP, Athyros VG, et al. Lifestyle recommendations for the prevention and management of metabolic syndrome: an international panel recommendation. Nutr Rev. 2017;75(5):307-326. doi:1093/nutrit/nux014

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