I was listening to a podcast called “2 Keto Dudes”. They were talking with cardiologist Aseem Malhotra and it was very enlightening. Below are some notes I jotted down.
Fear of heart disease is at the root of our health crisis today. It is a fear of LDL cholesterol perpetrated by Ancel Keys. The belief is that the culprit is cholesterol and we should do everything we can to get it down. A multi-billion dollar food and drug industry has developed around this fear of cholesterol.
But we now know (and some have always known) that the number one risk factor linked to heart attacks and linked to high blood pressure, is a precursor to T2D and is independently linked to dementia and many cancers is INSULIN RESISTANCE.
Diet is the first and most important target to control this. Cut out refined carbs, starchy vegetables, seed oils and sugar. Eat real food. Eat plenty of healthy fat. Keep moving (brisk walking is good (150 minutes a week – 30 minutes a day) – there’s some data that indicates walking is better than running because of the stress that running places on the body) – you don’t need a gym membership. Get plenty of rest and manage stress.
Metabolic syndrome – most people admitted with heart attacks have at least three of the following – high triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and increased waist circumference (fun fact: waist circumference is better indicator than BMI). There’s no such thing as a healthy weight – only a healthy person.
The calcium score is a gold standard test – it is a CT scan of the heart. It will calculate your risk of developing Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) by measuring the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries.
If you’re over 60 there was no association between LDL and heart disease. In fact, there was an inverse association with all cause mortality – in other words, the higher your LDL the less likely you were to die. Remember that cholesterol has many important functions in the body – it’s also involved in the immune system which may account for this. You who are taking statins might want to know there are few benefits and lots of potential side effects. In fact, if lowering LDL, which is what statins do, does not increase life expectancy then why take them? It is suggested that what little benefit you might get from a statin has to do with a reduction in inflammation. Fun fact: you can reduce inflammation with diet, restful sleep, walking and stress reduction. You don’t need a pill and its accompanying side effects.
Stents – if you’re having a heart attack a stent can be life saving. BUT if you have angina a stent will not prolong your life or prevent a heart attack. In fact, the stent procedure itself can cause a heart attack, stroke or death.
Let’s recap: to be healthier and to get off of most or all of your medications you need to cut out refined carbs, starchy vegetables, seed oils and sugar. Eat real food. Keep moving by walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. That’s how easy it really is.
To think our health care crisis could be mostly solved by this. Of course, big food and big pharma are going to fight tooth and nail to prevent it – because as you get healthier they will make less money.
Do what’s right for you. Live a healthier life.