The Right Food Plan for Cardiometabolic Patients

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Read Time: 2 Minutes

Given the rise in metabolic syndrome and heart health risk factors,1-3 sustainable lifestyle interventions that can prevent and reverse these conditions are vital. In a recent US-based evaluation, researchers reported that only an estimated 6.8% of US adults have optimal cardiometabolic health, attributed partly to increased adiposity and reduced glucose regulation.4 Furthermore, the study’s findings suggested health inequities by age, sex, education, and race, with lower cardiometabolic health noted among men, older adults, adults with lower versus higher education, and among Hispanic adults, specifically Mexican Americans, compared to white adults.4

What can clinicians do to help curb the rising prevalence of cardiometabolic conditions? The best place to start for most patients is with diet and lifestyle modifications. For example, studies suggest that plant-based diets may reduce cardiovascular disease risk and improve cardiometabolic health.5,6 IFM’s Cardiometabolic Food Plan is a tool that contains valuable resources and information for clinicians as they work with patients and help them transition to healthier eating patterns that support cardiac and metabolic 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.

Video Time: 1 minute) Dr. Elizabeth Boham is board certified in family medicine, with a strong background in nutrition and functional medicine. She speaks on topics ranging from women’s health and breast cancer prevention to insulin resistance and heart health.

IFM’s Cardiometabolic Food Plan is designed for patients at risk of or already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or metabolic conditions, which share many underlying causes, including increased inflammation, insulin resistance, and stress.7,8 The plan has the following features:

  • A modified Mediterranean diet approach, focusing on heart-healthy elements9 such as fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats
  • 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. Clinicians can get in-depth training on all IFM food plans, including how to personalize them to treat a variety of health concerns, in the online learning course Therapeutic Food Plans: A Component of Personalized Nutrition. To learn more about cardiometabolic disorders and beneficial lifestyle-based interventions, hear from functional medicine experts at IFM’s upcoming Cardiometabolic Advanced Practice Module (APM).

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  1. Hirode G, Wong RJ. Trends in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the United States, 2011-2016. JAMA. 2020;323(24):2526-2528. doi:1001/jama.2020.4501
  2. Liang X, Or B, Tsoi MF, Cheung CL, Cheung BMY. Prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-18. Postgrad Med J. 2023;99(1175):985-992. doi:1093/postmj/qgad008
  3. Aggarwal R, Yeh RW, Joynt Maddox KE, Wadhera RK. Cardiovascular risk factor prevalence, treatment, and control in US adults aged 20 to 44 Years, 2009 to March 2020. JAMA. 2023;329(11):899-909. doi:1001/jama.2023.2307
  4. O’Hearn M, Lauren BN, Wong JB, Kim DD, Mozaffarian D. Trends and disparities in cardiometabolic health among U.S. adults, 1999-2018. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022;80(2):138-151. doi:1016/j.jacc.2022.04.046
  5. Dybvik JS, Svendsen M, Aune D. Vegetarian and vegan diets and the risk of cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Eur J Nutr. 2023;62(1):51-69. doi:1007/s00394-022-02942-8
  6. Termannsen AD, Clemmensen KKB, Thomsen JM, et al. Effects of vegan diets on cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2022;23(9):e13462. doi:1111/obr.13462
  7. Turner AI, Smyth N, Hall SJ, et al. Psychological stress reactivity and future health and disease outcomes: a systematic review of prospective evidence. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2020;114:104599. doi:1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104599
  8. Fahed G, Aoun L, Bou Zerdan M, et al. Metabolic syndrome: updates on pathophysiology and management in 2021. Int J Mol Sci. 2022;23(2):786. doi:3390/ijms23020786
  9. Fatima K, Rashid AM, Memon UAA, et al. Mediterranean diet and its effect on endothelial function: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Ir J Med Sci. 2023;192(1):105-113. doi:1007/s11845-022-02944-9

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