In 2010 the AHA came up with “Life’s Simple 7”-seven modifiable health behaviors and biological factors- as part of its 2020 impact goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke by 20%.
The seven factors (LS7) were smoking, body mass index [BMI], physical activity, diet, total cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose, Attainment of optimal LS7 status has been associated with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure (HF).
A recent observationsl study found that high LS7 scores was associated with a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation
Each individual component was categorized as poor, intermediate, or ideal according to the American Heart Association’s LS7 criteria.1 Ideal levels of health factors were: nonsmoker or quit >1 year ago; body mass index <25 kg/m2; blood pressure <120/80 mm Hg; total cholesterol <200 mg/dL; fasting blood glucose <100 mg/dL; ≥150 min/week of physical activity; and a healthy diet score (≥4 components). Study participants who were treated to target levels for hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, or diabetes mellitus were classified as intermediate for the respective health factor. An overall LS7 score ranging from 0 to 14 was calculated as the sum of the LS7 component scores (2 points for ideal, 1 point for intermediate, and 0 for poor). This score was classified as inadequate (0‐4), average (5‐9), or optimum (10‐14) cardiovascular health.
I found this figure from the paper particularly interesting
Notice that there is a substantially lower risk of AF with lower BMI , blood sugar and blood pressure but no relationship between the diet score and AF risk.
Clearly if you can get and keep your body weight down (which improves blood pressure and diabetes risk) you will be in a lower risk category for atrial fibrillation.
On the other hand, having a total cholesterol <200 mg/dl is not associated with lower risk of AF and in fact having an ideal score on this parameter is associated with higher risk. A total cholesterol is really not something that is a good marker for CV health and should be eliminated from the Life’s Simple 7 goals.
Even more enlightening is the total lack of any association between “healthy” diet and atrial fibrillation.
The healthy diet score was calculated as the sum of the scores for each of 5 individual components: fruits and vegetables (≥4.5 cups per day), fish (≥2 3.5‐oz servings per week), fiber‐rich whole grains (≥3 1‐oz‐equivalent serving per day), sodium (<1500 mg/day), sugar‐sweetened beverages (≤450 kcal/week). The range is from 0 to 5, with a lower score being unhealthy.
Taken in conjunction with studies showing reduced AF recurrence after weight loss it seems very clear that the single best thing obese afib patients can do to prevent recurrence is lose weight. And it doesn’t matter what diet they utilize to accomplish the weight loss.