Diet for AF sufferers: Good Morning all, has... - AF Association

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Diet for AF sufferers

Good Morning all, has anyone any diet suggestions for losing weight for us AF sufferers. I have cut out red meat, alcohol, salt, crisps cakes, all the usual. I know my tablets flecanide and bisoprolol don't help. I have done SW for many years lost three stone after my first ablation. Would really like to lose 2 stone. Thought some of you might have some idea of a diet. Got an appointment with specialist on 16th Sept. re another ablation. Thanks

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I am trying the High Fat Low Carb diet. I have an under active thyroid as well as AF. Finally lost 5kgs although seem to have plateaued at the moment.

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Is there a particular one that you follow.

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Is this the Keto diet, bit wary of going on it.

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It’s the old Atkins diet updated. Blood pressure now brilliant. No change to AF xx

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Probably worth noting that before he died Dr Atkins had been treated for heart attack, congestive heart failure, hypertension and irregular heartbeat.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rober...

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Great! The Atkins diet always sounded fairly crazy to me and good to find I've already outlived him being 75! As we have found, we are all different and what works for some of us will not be right for all. I've hardly ever been overweight and was always fit and healthy, exercised regularly etc etc but hardly have the energy for much in the way of exercise these days, sadly. I'm still rather peeved to have got this paroxysmal atrial fibrillation when I was a "good girl" and did all the right healthy things. I am just considering trying taking the flecainde regularly again at a slightly higher dose as though it works brilliantly as a PIP for me, I didn't find it stopped episodes when taken regularly. So sorry to find that didn't work for you, Gillybean. I don't much like the idea of an ablation, especially as they rarely seem to work for very long either!

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I know my first one lasted for over a year. Then I had a very bad 12 months(that's another story) I want to get off the flecanide I find it good with the AF but it makes me sluggish affects my weight and some days my eyes are awful. X

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Gosh! That's really interesting. I think it affects my eyes too but it hasn't affected my weight - I'm very fortunate in not liking very sweet things and or large meals and the things I do like to eat are fortunately healthy or considered to be at the moment!

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At the end of the day it was a fall that killed him not the diet

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G'day Gillybean,

Not really, the diet I follow is not for loosing weight at all.

However, do remember diet alone may not be enough .... diet and a regular exercise plan may be more appropriate. Some people like to work out in a gym, others - depending where they live may prefer a more rural, open air setting - luckily down here in the far south west I have plenty of open air choices.

John

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Morning, I'm South West as well, Lots of good walking. I take dogs out everyday. Think I need to do more though but struggle with the energy bit. Must push myself more.

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Sounds great but there must be lots like me who have to measure the distance between bus stops or car parks before going anywhere as cannot go far without leaning on something as energ y just gone and I just want to sit down, anywhere would do!!!! Dont laugh, can you imagine it in the shopping mall with all us old lady AF people cluttering up the place!!!

Exercise is off the menu these days

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I am the same, I have to plan walking up the town and stop quite a few times to get my breath.

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I happily sat on a bench to watch the dog show at my local village fete which displayed a sign saying it was only to be used by those who were elderly or disabled! Funny when you realise you fit those categories!

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I did all you have but the best advice is just eat less. Diets don't work as they are transitory. Changes in life style and mind set do.

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Yes you are right, that made me chuckle. I know in my head what I do wrong so here goes. Get my act together. X

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Bye the way Bob, how are you?

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I'm fine and on track thanks. Still get worn out quickly but expected. Sam is keeping my leash short!

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Spot on , Bob !

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Hi Gillybean :-) I am not a fan of short term 'diets' and think a permanent change of lifestyle is what works long term it certainly has for me . I lost 1.5 stone when first diagnosed with P-AF almost 3 years ago and I haven't put the weight back on as so often happens with 'diets' .

I already ate well with everything home made and avoided processed foods so just made a few changes.

I cut of alchohol, cake. biscuits, only occasionally eat meat and increased the amount of vegetables/nuts/fruit/pulses/fish.

I love cooking and haven't found it difficult at all. Other changes I made were eating small portions (except for vegetables) and changing the time of my main meal to lunch time so that I am 'active ' and not sitting down as I used to be after my main meal in the evening.

My last meal is about 5pm and something like like home made soup and a home made wholemeal bread roll . In the evening I have some nuts and fruit.

One thing I have found since changing my lifestyle is I no longer want or can eat large meals, they make me feel uncomfortable and lethargic.

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Interesting I am exactly the same in terms of meal sizes once i lost weight ! I think your stomach shrinks so you feel full more quickly ! I cant eat enormous fatty meals anymore and i used to wolf them down !

Andy

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Hi Gilly, I agree with Bob here, eat less and I would add just do 2 daily walks of 2 miles each time every day.

Now here is the secret IMHO, reducing intake is not at all difficult as you would expect, it is the sourcing incl grow your own, affording and preparing of better food that is time consuming and defeats most of us but I am convinced it is worth starting on that road and just keep improving every year. I have followed this for 10 years and am down 3+ stone and back to the weight I was when I was 21 (now 66yo).

I eat a little of everything. By way of example the foods you mention: red meat yes but has to be organic and all pasture fed, salt yes but the high quality sea salt from the respected sources (does not contain the rubbish in normal salt), cakes bake with 50% less sugar - this time of year organic courgettes go into my cakes delicious and moist. You will find when you source and prepare quality food in general you eat less of it and feel satisfied quicker (as your body is no longer searching for the nutrients that are absent in a lot of manufactured food today).

I hope something there helps.

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Hi there, I'm pretty good with my food. I always prepare and cook my own meals. Lots from the garden. I never buy tinned foods. Maybe tinned toms but hopefully will have enough toms in the garden to get me through the winter. Have a freezer full of green beans which I eat most nights. Never have normal salt. Use Himalayan salt very rare. I am always busy. Have four dogs so they get walked in twos. Think I may need a jolt, I always try and think positive and try not to let things get me down but you know how it is. Will try more. X

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If you do all these things then perhaps your weight is nothing to do with your diet . Genetically many people are prone to put on weight . This is why we are here. It is an evolutionary trait. Those who survived to pass on their genes were those who could weather periods of starvation because their bodies had stocked up fat for the lean times. In a era of readily available food this is no longer advantageous. It was even more importantant for women as a woman with the natural body type of a catwalk model was not going to be able to breast feed children in lean times or even produce them. Until fairly recent times in the west and even more recent times in the 3rd world flesh was seen as attractive and desirable. I remember being shocked when I visited South India in 1996. There were elections in the offing and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu was up for re election. There were large posters of her everywhere -drawings not photos - and she was painted with 3 !!! chins. No doubt she was a buxom woman but I think in the west any paintings of her would have tried to minimise rather than emphasise that. Our societies are obsessed by thinness and this aesthetic has also contaminated medicine with the idea of one size fits all BMI . Once we have put on weight our bodies will desperately try to hang on to it . If you look back 50 / 60 years it was considered normal for post menopausal women to become what was described as stout. No one nagged at them to try and acheive the figures they had in their 20s and 30s. If you eat healthily and not too much and are constantly busy but still overweight maybe rather than thinking "try harder" you should give up stressing about it especially if you are on meds that encourage weight gain. I have put on weight since taking beta blockers and just found out that my thyroid levels are out again. But I eat healthily cooking from scratch every day and have reduced portions because I just can't eat large meals comfortably. I have lowered carb intake of things like bread ,pasta and spuds. But trying harder would mean starving myself so I would rather stay fat.

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Hi, I couldn't agree more. I have had an underactive thyroid since I was 59 (now 67) and then developed AF and flutter. I have steadily put on weight despite cooking own food, gardening most days and eating all my own produce. My portions are small and I don't have more than a couple of biscuits per day and an occasional pudding. It is bloody hard work trying constantly to lose weight, especially since a blip in my health at Christmas and all my meds being doubled - Levothyroxine 100 mcg and Bisoprolol 10mg. I am short and do not carry the weight well but have decided that as long as my health is relatively good and I can continue with life at the speed and energy I have at present then I am content - blow the fat arse!!!!!! :)

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My underactive thyroid was diagnosed when I was 47 but due to incompetence and frank inability to read a thyroid panel by my GP I had had it for at least 5 years prior to the diagnosis. I was very active ,gardening every day in spring and summer and teaching and performing a very cardiac intensive form of Indian dance. But I kept piling on weight . This only stopped when I started taking a T3 med though I never lost the weight I had put on. Some of it was extra muscle but not all. Since developing afib I have had to stop thd T3 and I am no longer so active though I still garden. My body wide tendonitis ( due to Fluoroquinolone poisoning) makes exercise difficult. I have resigned myself to my weight gain. The only times I havd lost weight is after attacks of diverticulitis when I have had to starve myself. Now that has been fixed with a colectomy the weight has gone back on despite not eating more than before because the body has seen the weight loss as a bad thing.

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I do appreciate what you are saying as I have two prolapsed discs and now can't stand for long. I still love my garden but can only do short periods out there before I have to come in and sit down. At least I can knit and spin sitting down, which I love, but all rather sedentary. However, I am more fortunate than a lot of people, so thank my lucky stars and try and keep smiling.

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Sounds like you have come to terms with it. I just want to lose 28 lbs which isn't much but think I will feel better if I did. Have my ablation and get off the flecanide fingers crossed.

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I would be over the moon if I could lose a quarter of that!

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Thankyou.

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My EP recommends a whole food plant based diet. It is a miracle diet. Controls blood pressure much better than meds, controls blood sugar and can reverse heart disease. Its really great once you get started. Meals are quick, cheap and easy.

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Have decided,to give the plant based diet a try. My daughter is a sound vegan. For many many years so I know quite a bit about that so are just reading up on it now. Are slowly going offmeat anyway.

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So, what is a stone?

Re: loose 2 stone

Is it a pound?

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A stone is 14 pounds (approx 6.3kg)

An impressive weight loss!

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I can really recommend Dr Michael Mosleys diets - I use the 800 recipe book (easily available on amazon along with a book that explains the theory if you want to know that) and see the weight drop off. It’s not faddy, essentially cutting down carbs and increasing healthy veg - but for tasty meals it’s the best out there and the rest of my family don’t realise they are on it too in the evenings!

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Yes I agree! His book is brilliant, I always watch his TV programs too, his claims are always substantiated by research. I think it was in his book about salt too - it doesn’t matter where it’s sourced, from the Himalayas or Timbuktu - it’s still sodium chloride and still bad for the heart!

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Some salt is essential especially in hot weather. It is not bad for the heart and there is research which shows that being low in sodium is as bad as taking in too much. Why do you think animals frequent salt licks? What is bad for the heart is eating rubbish made in factories that has very low nutrient content.

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The only way to lose weight is cut out carbs. I've been low carb 2 years and it works so well my daughter and her friends now do it. Dietdoctor is a great website with hundreds of meal options but you have to be prepared to cut bread/pasta/potatoes etc which many people simply will not do. Depends how determined you are but it certainly works.

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Yes, agree with that, the Ducan Diet works for me for a quick fix . Can’t eat many carbs now as they leave me bloated and uncomfortable

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AF is nothing to dilly dick around with, by being side tracked on side issues! If you are "sitting on the fence" (i.e. takes little to nothing to throw you into AF), then you should FIX the actual problem, not roll the dice on false hope ideas (i.e. meds, diet, lifestyle, etc.)

In other words, if you've never had an ablation, or already had one & AF eventually came back, an ablation is STILL the ONLY way to safely & effectively go, so schedule one ASAP!

The very WORST that could more than remotely happen, is ablation goes too far, and you will require a pacemaker. But at least AF will be gone!

Personally, I'd rather live with a pacemaker than have little resemblance to life w/chronic AF.

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No red meat at all ... minimal sweets ... no coffee ... minimal bread ... small breakfast ... no lunch ... small early nourishing dinner ... minimal alcohol ... lots of water ... rarely have afib ... maybe once every few years. I am very tall and thin.

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This will lose some weight, plus might stop your afib from happening again...

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After 9 years of trying different foods and logging EVERYTHING I ate, I found sugar (and to a lesser degree, salt – i.e. dehydration) was triggering my Afib. Doctors don't want to hear this - there is no money in telling patients to eat less sugar. Each person has a different sugar threshold - and it changes as you get older, so you need to count every gram of sugar you eat every day (including natural sugars in fruits, etc.). My tolerance level was 190 grams of sugar per day 8 years ago, 85 grams a year and a half ago, and 60 grams today, so AFIB episodes are more frequent and last longer. If you keep your intake of sugar below your threshold level your AFIB will not happen again (easier said than done of course). It's not the food - it's the sugar (or salt - see below) IN the food that's causing your problems. Try it and you will see - should only take you 1 or 2 months of trial-and-error to find your threshold level. And for the record - ALL sugars are treated the same (honey, refined, agave, natural sugars in fruits, etc.). I successfully triggered AFIB by eating a bunch of plums and peaches one day just to test it out. In addition, I have noticed that moderate exercise (7-mile bike ride or 5-mile hike in the park) often puts my Afib heart back in to normal rhythm a couple hours later. Don’t know why – perhaps you burn off the excess sugars in your blood/muscles or sweat out excess salt??

Also, in addition to sugar, if you are dehydrated - this will trigger AFIB as well. It seems (but I have no proof of this) that a little uptick of salt in your blood is being treated the same as an uptick of sugar - both cause AFIB episodes. (I’m not a doctor – it may be the sugar in your muscles/organs and not in your blood, don’t know). In any case you have to keep hydrated, and not eat too much salt. The root problem is that our bodies are not processing sugar/salt properly and no doctor knows why, but the AFIB seems to be a symptom of this and not the primary problem, but medicine is not advanced enough to know the core reason that causes AFIB at this time. You can have a healthy heart and still have Afib – something inside us is triggering it when we eat too much sugar or get (even a little) dehydrated. Find out the core reason for this and you will be a millionaire and make the cover of Time Magazine! Good luck! - Rick Hyer

PS – there is a new study out backing up the above observations. You can see it at

cardiab.biomedcentral.com/a...

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Thanks for articulating this so well, sugarisit. I am on an anti-inflammation diet: no coffee, alcohol, cow dairy, or gluten - all of which have triggered a fib for me. I now don’t get very many episodes, although I still have egg topics and brief periods of a fib sometimes. I don’t eat any added sugar, but I do sweeten things with dates, maple syrup, or honey. In other words, I hadn’t started counting sugars, as a diabetic wood, and I think I’m going to try this, thanks to your post, because I noticed that even large amounts of fruit (I eat a lot of fruit) seem to trigger ectopics or increased heart rate, if not a fib.

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I think you mean ectopics not a new egg recipe!

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I struggle with some of the medical terms as well. Some people reel all these things abbreviated and I have to look them up to know what they are on about. T

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Hahaha! What would we do without autocorrect!

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Hi

My advise would be not to use the word diet

U don’t want o go in a diet

U want to maintain a steady eating healthy

STOP all process sugars and high carbs as they turn to sugar in body

I have done this with great success

Sugars causes inflammation and that in turn causes Afib in my opinion

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I agree. It is definitely a way of eating. (Woe) for life. I have lost 37 lbs and I have fewer af, I’m paroxysmal, and blood work is perfect, as is my blood pressure.

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Everyone is a little different but a lifestyle change is definitly needed for everyone with Afib. I swim myself to lose weight and I cut back on sweets, alcohal,large loads of carbs and fats. I still drink coffee in the morning but under 2 cups a day regular strength. I still eat carbs because your body needs it for energy. Just keep your carbs to the morning and lunch and avoid it at dinner.

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Since being diagnosed last year, I’ve dropped over 40 pounds. I eat roasted fish or fowl, ( no red meat), brown rice or roasted sweet potato, and steamed vegetables. Oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. That’s it. Nothing after dinner. I buy my veggies fresh and steam them. I must say I feel a LOT better.

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That's brilliant. I think I will put your tips into action. Don't want to do anything too complex. I don't seem to have the appetite I used to have anyway. Thanks.

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As others here noted, it gets easier as you go because your stomach shrink and you really can't eat that much at one time. Good luck!!

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Hi, I think as 💤boring as it is, a food diary is a must. Count your calories and keep to small portions. It soon becomes a habit and I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results. Oh and also sufficient exercise.

Good luck

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Hi coopo, any advice for where to get a calories list?

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Download my fitness pal app brilliant for logging calories and if you just scan the barcode it automatically updates the calories

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Hi Jo, you can get a calorie counter free on a mobile app. If you aim for 1500 calories a day and stick to it you will reap the benefits. I suppose it depends on you daily activity how many calories you burn. Also I try to walk as much as I can.

Good luck.

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Thanks for all your comments they have all been very helpful. X

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Diet and exercise are the key whether you are an AGIB patient or not

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Sorry what doesAGIB stand for

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Sorry, typo. Meant AFIB (atrial fibrillation). I think that any specialized diet is good that will help you accelerate taking the weight off along with a regular exercise regimen. Once the weight is off, then my belief is that you just need to simply moderate your food intake to keep the weight off. Staying on a particular diet plan forever (ie Keto, low carb etc) is difficult.

Best of luck.

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I've been doing these 21 day challenges. You can find different ones on Pinterest. I have done two with a week between. My doctor also halved my Metropolol & Flecanide so I'm not real sure what jumpstarted my weight loss but I'm down 18# since June.

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Hi everyone, only read chosen questions every few months and diet question caught my eye.

I have AF and I'm on Warfrain plus a beta blocker Sotalol. I went through a dreadful time not sleeping (racing heart waking me up ) had loads of tests, looked like a nutter with nose strip, dressing gown cord tied in knots behind my back to keep me on my side so not to snore and a snore guard in my mouth. I was desperate!! Then would take a beta blocker and it would keep me awake for the rest of the night. Turned into a zombie!!

But now on Sotalol and decided to change my lifestyle around.

Eat healthy, no bad stuff, sugar is one of the worst enemies, no chocholate as it's very bad for AF but white fine. in small bits. Nothing with caffine in, eat a main meal at lunchtime then soup or even a bowl of cereal before 6.00 then nothing afterwards. Instead of crisps. choc... I eat nuts, teacake, scones, oatbars, dried fruit, fruit, wholemeal bread with mashed avocado instead of butter- lovely with poached eggs on top/cress. A mass of roasted veg with olive oil/gently fried fish... so easy to stop the bad diet.

Brilliant receipes on BBC Good Food receipes and so easy.

I joined the local leisure centre/ swim/ 27 lengths twice a week plus the gym twice a week, so my weight stays the same. Although I still wake with a racing heart i go back to sleep straight away and look normal with no snoring devices...! It was too much food late at night plus biscuits with a cuppa, suger the culprit ... just before bed!

Hope it's helped?!

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