Heart disease and specifically heart attacks are the #1 killer in the United States. Did you know that in the early 1900’s roughly 100 years ago, heart attacks were exceedingly RARE. So what changed? Obviously, many things have changed but in the 1920’s the thing that changed most was our food. Crisco, a man-made hydrogenated oil was introduced by P&G who then paid the American Heart Association millions of dollars to promote this as “healthy”. Does this prove that fat is unhealthy? No, in fact quite the opposite. Prior to this our forefathers had eaten ample amounts of animal fat as bison, deer, antelope, duck and fish. Medical records from the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s showed that heart disease was in fact a rare occurrence when we fed on naturally fed organic animal sources.
The other big change was wheat. Back in the 1920’s and 30’s we didn't have the huge agriculture of modern day and in fact the wheat we did grow was genetically different than the genetically modified wheat of today. In 1943 the Rockefeller group funded development of a new kinds of wheat in a noble effort to feed the world but the result was a form of wheat that generated new kinds of carbohydrate called amylopectin. Today’s wheat will elevate blood sugar faster and higher than eating actual sugar cubes. To make matters worse this wheat is used as a thickening agent in many foods such as ice cream and salad dressing so that it is easy for you to get wheat 4 to 5 times a day. Would you eat a pork chop 5 times per day? Eating a high glycemic food like wheat elevates blood sugar and doing this 4 to 5 times a day drives heart disease faster than anything else we can conjure up.
Now add plastics, pesticides, Round-Up, genetically modified foods, stress, sleep deprivation, processed food, and less exercise and we have the perfect recipe for heart disease which the U.S. has demonstrated to the world. We all know smoking produces greater heart disease risk but smoking has decreased while heart disease continues marching on at great speed. Why? Being obese or over-weight means you are in the strong majority as 70% of Americans fall into this group. That belly fat is not idol. Belly fat is a factory for making inflammatory chemical compounds called cytokines in your body. Churning out cytokines from belly fat irritates the blood vessels and when mixed with a high carb diet of processed foods and chemicals, will promotes the formation of plaque. Eating fat that exists in nature DOES NOT cause plaque. Cholesterol in and off itself does not form plaque. Our forefathers ate a ton of fat, mostly from animals, and heart disease from coronary plaque was non-existent. If you truly want to understand the cause of heart disease, then study dietary and lifestyle changes that occurred over the past 100 years and the answer becomes very clear. To better understand the truths and myths of heart disease, read the article "Heart Disease - Tired old Myths".
The shift in our hormone status over time plays a big role in cardiovascular risk. As women lose hormones at time of menopause their risk of heart attack rapidly rises. Men have shown a loss of testosterone over the past 4 decades. A 60 year old man in 1970 had more testosterone than a 60 year old man today. Why is that? Explore this phenomena in my published article, "Testosterone's benificial impact on cardiovascular health". As testosterone drops, risk of heart attacks rise.
If you would like to read more detail on the changes that shaped heart disease in America then see Gary Taubes book, Good Calories, Bad Calories” or Nina Teicholz book, “The Big Fat Surprise”. Both of these authors did a phenomenal job tracking the historical events that shaped our thinking and thus our results. Bad science mixed with ego, power and money have created one of the cruelest illusions ever perpetrated on the American public which is a $29 billion dollar statin industry promising to stop heart disease, but failing miserably.
Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a cardiologist at the Mayo clinic reported in an interview, “If you are not fit and exercising and if you don't observe a healthy diet then statin benefits are severely limited”. He went on to state that a large study has shown that if your diet is not good then the use of a statin provided no benefit. “You can overeat your statin and lifestyle factors are far more impactful.” His point is simple and demonstrated in multiple medical studies – the key to heart disease is “inflammation” not cholesterol. If you eat a diet of carbohydrate and sugar and drive weight gain and inflammation, then heart disease and diabetes will follow.
The largest study of statins on the planet (Nilsson et al, 2011) tracked 4 million people over 5 years and saw little to no reduction in heart attack occurrence or deaths from heart attack in those taking statins. This doesn't mean that statins don't work. Statins do a great job of reducing LDL cholesterol but the problem is NOT LDL cholesterol. The majority of people having a heart attack have NORMAL cholesterol so reducing the LDL cholesterol level doesn't have strong impact. Increasing the good cholesterol, HDL, is one of the major keys to heart health but the pharmaceutical companies failed to develop a drug that could do this so they sold what they had which was a drug (statins) to lower the less important LDL.
Studies show that your risk of dying from any cause is increased if your cholesterol is low. People with higher cholesterol levels live longer on avaerge, have stronger immune systems, get cancer less often and have strong cells with better balanced hormone levels. This hyper-fascination with lowering cholesterol has never stood up to the scrutiny of science nor the simple lens of common sense. The drug trials that stains work are always paid for by the very companies that manufacture the drug. In Europe they reviewed these same statin trial results independently and found that the benefit being reported was exaggerated and often times simply not present.
The good news is that YOU currently have the power to reverse your type 2 diabetes, lower your cholesterol if needed, and more importantly eliminate “inflammation” which is the actual cause of heart disease with the very tools discussed here. Let’s get to work.