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What Is the Prudent Diet?

By Amy Fanjoy ; Updated July 18, 2017

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States in both men and women; in 2008, at least 25 percent of adults in most states were obese. In a society of plentiful food and obesity on the rise, the fight on heart disease flourishes. The prudent diet is necessary to dampen this artery-clogging disease.


MedlinePlus reports heart disease includes coronary artery disease, which may occur from the accumulation of a fatty substance in the artery wall, causing a blockage. All individuals with a diagnosis of heart disease or who have a family history of heart disease should follow a prudent diet. The diet is low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. These dietary modifications assist in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels and blood pressure.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that a food item is considered low-fat when there is it contains 3 g or less of total fat per serving. A meal is low-fat when there are 3 g or less total fat per 100 g serving and 30 percent or less fewer calories are from fat. Low saturated fat guidelines allow for 1 g or less per serving and no more than 15 percent of calories. Low cholesterol signifies 20 mg or less cholesterol and 2 g or less saturated fat per serving. Low sodium is recognized as 140 mg or less per serving.

Food Items

Plain fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole intact grains, including oats, couscous, barley and quinoa, are generally low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. All animal products contain saturated fat and cholesterol. Animal products include red meat, poultry, pork, fish, eggs and dairy. Choose the lower fat and cholesterol options. Cheese is high in sodium. Prepackaged foods tend to be higher in trans fats and sodium. Read food labels carefully, and remember variety and moderation of foods.


Sodium reduction as been shown to lower blood pressure and the risk for heart disease. According to a study in the May 2009 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," reducing saturated fat and replacing it with polyunsaturated fats found in some vegetable oils, fatty fish, nuts and seeds prevents coronary heart disease in middle aged and older adults. Soluble fiber in fruits, vegetables, legumes, oats and barley decrease cholesterol in the blood.


A person with diabetes can follow the prudent diet. Choose foods low in fat, cholesterol and sodium at meals and snacks and continue counting carbohydrates. Prudent diets are not bland and tasteless when herbs, spices, vinegar and low-fat or low-sodium sauces are added. Fruits and vegetables make delectable salsas and sauces to add to meals and snacks. There are a variety of tasteful foods allowed on the prudent diet, so an individual will not starve.

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