Practical Guidance for Food Consumption to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Paul J. Nestel, Lawrence J. Beilin, Peter M. Clifton, Gerald F. Watts, Trevor A. Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This dietary guidance, informed by best contemporary evidence, aims to assist medical practitioners and allied health professionals in advising patients for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). While differing in some details from other current guidelines, the core messages accord with those published in 2019 by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society; the National Lipid Association in 2014 and the NH&MRC Australian Dietary Guidelines in 2013. These were assessed through the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE II) and the levels of evidence and classes of a recommendation developed using the GRADE system. Recommendations with high levels of evidence include increased consumption of plant based foods comprising mainly complex, fibre enriched carbohydrates (wholegrains, fruits and vegetables) while limiting intake of refined starches; partial replacement of saturated fats with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats and oils; reduced salt intake; achievement and maintenance of healthy weight; and low-to-moderate consumption of alcohol. Additional guidance but with moderate levels of evidence includes increased consumption of fish (and fish oils where indicated); reduction in sugar-sweetened beverages and added sugars; avoidance of butter and cream especially in those at increased CVD risk but encouragement of yoghurt; allow moderate consumption of lean meat but limit intake of processed meats; and limit cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs and crustaceans for those at increased CVD risk. Guidance has been formulated qualitatively on food categories of commonly eaten foods while avoiding prescriptive quantitative measures that are less readily translatable. This approach accords with current guidelines such as the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association 2019 guidelines and is understandable and readily implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-179
Number of pages17
JournalHeart Lung and Circulation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Practical Guidance for Food Consumption to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this