Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack, Add Years to Your Life

    A diet of fruits, vegetables and nuts lowers the bad LDL cholesterol in two weeks by 33%, far more than the same diet with added grains and low fat diary (23%), and even more than by the National Cholesterol Therapeutic Step-2 diet recommended by doctors for people with high cholesterol (7%).

    Even more important, the ratios of LDL/HDL cholesterol are reduced by 24%, 12%, and 5% respectively (Epidemiology, March 2006).

    This study by David Jenkins and many other studies show that the most effective way to lower high cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent heart attacks and prolong life is to avoid taking in more calories than you burn.

    Limiting food intake to just fruits, vegetables and nuts makes it very difficult to meet your needs for calories. You have to eat all day long to get enough calories just to maintain your weight.

    This diet is almost the same as what human ancestors ate 4 to 7 million years ago before they split off in development from apes, who eat almost the same way in the wild today.

    Further evidence that extra calories cause heart attacks comes from the fact that reducing your intake of calories by one-third and eating nothing but fatty meats and dairy products will cause your blood cholesterol level to go down (European Heart Journal Supplements, 1999;1(S):S19-S23).

    Saturated fats are broken down in your liver to two-carbon acetone units. If you take in more calories than you need, the acetone units are used as building blocks to make cholesterol and your blood cholesterol level rises. On the other hand, if you are not taking in extra calories, the acetone units are burned for energy and do not raise cholesterol.

    The fruit-vegetable-nut diet is extremely low in significant amounts of starch because humans did not eat large amounts of grains until the agricultural revolution about 10,000 years ago.

    By adding whole grains and animal products to the fruit-vegetable-nut diet, humans suddenly increased their caloric intake dramatically. Their bodies were used to trying to get every calorie they could possibly get from the food that they eat. Now they
    could get all the calories they needed.

    As long as they were very active physically, they could compensate for the extra calories that they could take in and use. However, as soon as humans stop being physically active, they start to store extra calories as fat and it is the extra fat that causes much of modern day disease.

    Adding low-fat dairy products, whole grains and dried beans to a fruit-vegetable-nut diet creates a diet that is low in saturated fat and low in cholesterol. This is the basis of the therapeutic diets recommended by most physicians to help prevent heart attacks today, yet these diets are significantly less effective than the fruit-vegetable-nut diet that forces severe calorie restriction.

    The most unhealthful diet is one that allows you to take in more calories than you need...

    *so you store more fat in your muscles,

    *fat in cells blocks insulin receptors,

    *your cells stop responding to insulin,

    *your blood sugar rises,

    *sugar sticks to cell membranes to damage cells and cause

    *diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, cancers, and premature death.

    If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, try limiting your diet to fruits, vegetables and nuts for just two weeks.

    It is likely that your cholesterol and blood pressure will drop significantly in that short time, and you will have identified the source of your problem.

    A practicing physician for more than 40 years and a radio talk show host for 25, Dr. Gabe Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is one of a very few doctors board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. For more information, go to

    Overall Health & Nutrition
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