Posted by: Nutrition Nut | 2004/02/15

Prudent Diet causes heart attacks

Dear DietDoc

I find it interesting that you (and most professionals) recommend the "Prudent Diet" in the face of the evidence.

All of the controlled, scientific tests to determine the efficacy of the prudent diet have shown exactly the opposite - that a diet HIGH in saturated fats leads to LESS deaths from myocardial infarctions than a diet high in polyunsaturated fats.

MI deaths have increased in direct proportion to the increase in polyunsaturated oils in our diet. In fact, processed oils (without the natural anti-oxidants) have been shown to be cardiotoxic.

Don't you think that heart attacks should be becoming LESS prevalent as more and more people adopt the Prudent Dietary Principles?

So, do you think we should stick to the "Prudent Diet"? It seems to be working well. More drugs for cholesterol reduction, blood pressure and blood thinning are being sold than ever before. That would appear to be the agenda of the "Healthcare" Industry, in which case it is obviously a very successful strategy.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Nutrition Nut
I beg to disagree. The most persuasive body of evidence supporting the Prudent Diet with its emphasis on a low fat intake and a high dietary fibre and protective nutrient intake is provided by a) populations that eat a 'primitive' diet - based on unrefined cereals, roots, nuts, fermented milk, lean meat, fish, eggs and small amounts of fat b) individuals who actually stick to the Prudent Diet - not just pay lip service to it and still eat large quantities of saturated fat and fast foods. The former group have a negligible incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other degenerative diseases, and the second group can achieve remarkable improvements in blood lipid levels and risk of degenerative diseases. This debate has been raging for years. The reason why the incidence of heart attacks does not decrease, is that most individuals eating a western diet may hear the message of the Prudent diet, but they certainly don't react to it. They consume too much energy, too much total fat, saturated fat, trans-fatty acids and cholesterol and too little fibre and protective nutrients, including bioflavonoids and omega-3 fatty acids and don't exercise enough.

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Posted by: Nutrition Nut | 2004/02/16

Well, the message isn't getting across to the consumer or the food manufacturers. Just have a look at all the "low-fat" and "diet" products in your local supermarkets. What is in them? Sugar, refined flour, hydrolysed vegetable protein, MSG, and Aspartame.

The message that is getting across to consumers is that "low-fat, high-fibre" translates to "bread, pasta and muffins are fine as long as they are 'low-fat' ". Lots of people believe that carbs do you no harm, and that the more sugar you eat, the more you burn it off, and that as long as it's "low-fat" it must be ok.

The message that has been taken to heart is that the "food pyramid" is Gospel Truth. So, most people believe that it's ok to stuff yourself with junk carbs, up to 70% of your intake.

I totally agree with your primative diet list. That's what we should be eating. Certainly, venison is a lot less fatty than our domesticated animals. However, the primitive diet of populations like the Innuit was largely raw meat and fat, and they were also healthy until they were introduced to refined grain products.

One can't criticise good, nutritious foods, such as vegetables, good proteins, good fats, unpasturised dairy products and unrefined grains.

I think that we agree more than it might appear at first.

Where I am going to differ with you is on the issue of fats. The research that started this all off was a study that linked countries with a high fat intake and a high rate of heart disease. Well, the study has been examined in retrospect, and found to be fudged. The countries were carefully selected to exclude ones that did not fit the required pattern. And it's a fact that the countries that have a high rate of heart attacks have a very high SUGAR intake.

You must have read recent studies that link high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides to a high INSULIN level?

The research indicates that refined carbohydrates are the problem, not the amount of dietary fat. The severe nutritional deficiencies that result from eating "low-fat" (high carb) foods result in breakdown of the arterial walls of the coronary arteries due to a low-grade form of scurvy. The lack of Vitamin C and two essential amino-acids causes the connective tissue to break down. At the same time, high levels of insulin in the blood damages the blood vessels, as do the foreign enzymes that get into the bloodstream as a result of homogenisation of milk.

We need to cut out the junk carbs, and stop feeding them to the animals that we eat too.

I'm sure that you have met plenty of people who are obese, overfed, but chronically undernourished.

I'm pleased that you mentioned the trans fats. There is a lot of trans fat in the "low-fat, high-fibre" stuff in the supermarkets.

Studies have also shown that there is a correlation between an increase in the consumption of polyunsaturated oils and the occurrence of myocardial infarctions. Again it seems that the culprit is the refining of the oils to make them look nice that removes the natural anti-oxidants. Then, they are put into clear plastic bottles, and stand around on the shelf oxidising all the time. Natural oils are dark and gummy, but retain their nutrition.

People who follow a low-carb diet (cut out the junk carbs) show a remarkable improvement in their blood lipid profile, notwithstanding their "high" intake of saturated fats.

It looks like the common factor is the reduction in junk carbs and processed foods, leading to a reduction in INSULIN levels and thus an improvement in lipid profile.

What would you find wrong with a diet consisting of about one third carbs, one third proteins and one third fats? Other than the cost, of course. A "Food Tower" instead of a "Food Pyramid"?

Cutting out the refined carbs implies that things like pasta and bread (from the supermarket) have to go. I don't see you recommending that, do I?

Bread made with crushed wheat (unrefined) that is soaked in water overnight to allow the natural enzymes to break down the starch is actually nutritious, unlike the junk we can buy. That's how people used to make bread a few generations ago.

Unpasturised milk is also highly nutritious, but pasturised, homogenised milk is actually a metabolic poison, almost as bad as sugar.

So, yes, the primitive diet is the best one. We are genetically designed for it, and in the past 11 000 years, we haven't evolved much, if at all.

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