Medical professionals are starting to come to grips with some startling facts regarding what really causes heart disease; and those facts are beginning to shake up not only the health industry, but the whole world of nutritional science.
In a recent article, Sott.net presented an astonishing confession by renowned cardiologist, Dr. Dwight Lundell. In it, Lundell boldly states what many professionals have come to suspect through purely empirical observation:
I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.
The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.
It Is Not Working!
The fact that it’s not working is precisely what has prompted this movement towards more careful scientific scrutiny of previously-held beliefs about diet and fitness. After all, as Lundell points out, all the statin drugs and reduced fat dieting in the world have not stemmed the tide of heart disease. In fact, with 25% of the US adult population taking statin drugs, more will die this year from heart attack and stroke than ever before. And even worse are the overall numbers: 75 million Americans currently have heart disease. 20 million have diabetes, and another 57 million have pre-diabetes. And these conditions affect younger and younger segments of the population each year.
Lundell’s testimony is damning. It is, in fact, not working.
Readers will no doubt recall that it wasn’t all that long ago that eggs, meat, butter, and shrimp were vilified as containing too much cholesterol. That mythology has been all but debunked, yet we’re still convinced that lowering fat is the key to a heart-healthy diet.
What’s getting the attention of professionals in the field, however, is quite a different story. Evidence is mounting to suggest that cholesterol — including the so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol — isn’t really the culprit. Studies are showing that LDL has a specific role to play in muscle development, which means that high levels of serum LDL are likely caused by our sedentary, non-muscle building lifestyle rather than by dietary factors.
In addition, it’s beginning to look more and more like the real culprit behind everything from diabetes to heart disease to obesity to Alzheimer’s is actually sugar; or, more specifically, the inflammation caused by sugar.
According to Lundell, the excess of sugars with which we bombard our systems on a daily basis is what causes the damage to our circulatory systems. This damage is where the cholesterol accumulates, causing arterial blockage. Lundell explains:
When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.
When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.
What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.
While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.
It’s not all our own fault. For the better part of a century, we’ve been inundated with a low-fat, high sugar dietary sales pitch designed less to promote health and more to promote agriculture. Think about it: Canada’s Food Guide recommends five to twelve servings per day of grain products, and five to ten of fruits and vegetables; but only 2-3 servings of proteins. This guide, while promoted by Health Canada, was developed by the Wheat Board.
In the U.S., the U.S.D.A.’s “Food Pyramid” is equally supportive of grain-based nutrition, recommending 6-11 servings of grains, with the same 2-3 servings of proteins. If you’re not aware, U.S.D.A. stands for “United States Department of Agriculture.” Not health…agriculture.
So what’s wrong with a diet based on starchy grain products? The simple fact of the matter is this: one “serving” of grains is represented by, for instance, a single slice of white bread.
One slice of white bread contains, on average, only 12.65 grams of total carbohydrates, of which 1.08 grams is simple sugars (source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/462975-sugars-found-in-white-bread/). That doesn’t sound like much, right?
But wait…that same slice also contains 10.15 grams of starch. Starch is broken down into sugar almost instantly in the gut, and enters the bloodstream as sugar. It is, therefore, treated exactly the same way by the pancreas. So, to your body, the total actual sugar in that slice of bread is 11.23 grams, not 1.08. The rest is fibre, which at 1.42 grams per slice is hardly a fair trade.
That’s one of the recommended 11 or 12 servings every day. In bread terms, a 12-slice loaf contains 134.76 grams of sugar and starch. This is where the problem lies, because in addition to preaching this as a healthy lifestyle, food manufacturers pack foods with all sorts of other chemical additives. Don’t be fooled by the idea that fructose is healthier because it comes from fruit. It’s sugar. High Fructose Corn Syrup (thankfully banned in Canada as a food additive) is especially insidious, and has wormed its way into nearly everything processed consumed in America.
Keep watching the medical reports, and you will see more and more of these doctors — many professionally chastised — coming forward to explain what many fitness experts have already come to realize: that the reduced fat, anti-cholesterol mania has proven drastically, and tragically, incorrect. What’s needed is a focus on healthy fats and protein to balance metabolism with adaptation, and less dependence on grains and sugars which, while tasty, are gradually killing us.