Follow the 80/20 Rule for a Heart-Healthy Diet Plan

Filed Under: Food and Nutrition, Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/15/2014

Follow the 80/20 Rule for a Heart-Healthy Diet Plan

Epidemiological studies indicate that a meat-heavy diet, and particularly red meat, raises your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, colorectal cancer and diabetes. And now researchers from Harvard have published an analysis of two health databases with more than 110,000 men and women which shows that red meat actually increases the risk of dying from cardiovascular causes by 16 percent and cancer by 10 percent.

Studies Recommend a Heart-Healthy Diet Plan

The analysis, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that nearly one in 10 deaths in men and one in 7.6 deaths in women could be prevented if people ate fewer than 0.5 servings of red meat per day as part of a heart-healthy diet plan. The researchers estimated that substitutions of one serving a day of other foods, including fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy and whole grains, for one daily serving of red meat could reduce the mortality rate anywhere from 7 percent to 19 percent.

I follow the 80/20 diet rule where only 20 percent of the diet is from animal sources, including fish, chicken, lamb and even buffalo. The best heart-healthy diet plans in the world, eaten in Asia and the Mediterranean, simply don’t include big chunks of meat. 


Pan A, et al. Red meat consumption and mortality: results from 2 prospective cohort studies. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(7):555–563.

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