High fat diet may be best for heart failure patients, finds study
Researchers now say a high fat diet may be beneficial for patients with heart failure, compared to a low fat diet that has been the mainstay of managing cardiovascular disease. The reason, according to investigators from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, is that more fat in the diet boosts cardiac output and may improve heart function.
In the newer study, Margaret Chandler, PhD and colleagues found more fat in the diet increased cardiac insulin resistance in patients with heart damage, which seems to be beneficial.
The researchers explain damaged hearts prefer glucose for fuel versus carbohydrates and fats used by healthy hearts. What the finding suggests is a damaged heart may need energy from mono- and polyunsaturated fats as opposed to simple sugars like glucose and fructose.
Dr. Chandler explains the finding doesn't mean it's okay to go eat a high fat meal at a popular fast food chain, ..."but treatments that act to provide sufficient energy to the heart and allow the heart to utilize or to maintain its normal metabolic profile may actually be advantageous."
For heart failure, insulin resistance may be beneficial
The finding is a surprise to scientists who believed a high fat diet would stress the heart. Instead, the researchers found animal models given a high fat diet experienced improvement in heart function and that insulin resistance is a good thing.
Instead of using glucose, the researchers found the heart is forced to use its primary energy source, which is fat and not simple sugars.
The finding is significant because there is no way to reverse heart damage that leads to heart failure. Dr. Chandler explains it’s important to create the best environment possible to help damaged hearts beat efficiently and effectively.
The most important finding from the study is that insulin resistance from higher fat intake may be beneficial for heart failure patients, contrary to past advice that a low fat diet should be the focus for managing any form of heart disease.
American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology
"The myocardial contractile response to physiological stress improves
with high saturated fat feeding in heart failure"
Jessica M. Berthiaume, Molly S. Bray, Tracy A. McElfresh, Xiaoqin Chen,
Salman Azam5, Martin E. Young, Brian D. Hoit, and Margaret P. Chandler