Heart Disease - Has Science been wrong or is this WOO?

I try to take care of myself by eating a lower carb diet (have for years), only moderate exercise (run 3 times… OK 2 per week), take EPA/DHA almost religiously and interestingly enough my grandmother (who lived to 99) always swore by taking aspirin and later ibuprofen (anti inflammatory) daily so I have been doing this as well as other supplements daily for years.

Now I stumble on this article which really has me thinking about the way effects my heart health.

Is this guy WOO or is he on to something? Could medical science really have been this far off for decades? A lot of what he says makes sense to me, do you all agree or disagree and why?

Could you perhaps gives us some idea about what he puts forth?

A lot of what he says is true. Inflammation is the cause of a lot of heart disease. That is why C reactive protein levels are important. And perhaps a second reason why aspirin is effective. But blaming it on Omega 6 oils, and carbohydrates is a bit of a stretch.

They used to think that ulcers were due to a myriad of things, and now we know that the vast majority are caused by infection.

It’s not necessarily woo, but I don’t put much credence into it, either. It’s a WAG backed by the fallacy of false expertise.

There’s a lot there that trips my “wow, you’re had some science classes but you’re not a scientist” sensor.

The first is the statistic that more people than ever before have heart disease. Well, that’s just true. But there are also just plain more people. So, are we worse off in terms of heart disease as a percentage? Also, how much is he controlling for generally better health outcomes currently and better diagnostics (how many people even 100 years ago had access to reasonable diagnoses of heart disease?). My guess is it’s a lot of anecdotal data, some “just-so” thinking, and just plain non-scientific sense.

Now, in a pretty good bit of coincidence, a new report that shows we’re still advancing the field is the revelation that the prevalence of heart disease isn’t new. It was common even thousands of years ago.

This is actually a knock against the doctor’s opinion. Those people had radically different diets from the modern day and more in line with his recommendations - yet heart disease is still detectable and prevalent thousands of years later.

All good replies, perhaps its the years of listening to grandma but generally my WOO radar is highly sensitive and it simply did not go off with this one.

I am a strong believer in high amounts of good fish oil (not the cheap Walmart stuff) and I take both aspirin and ibuprofen every day so maybe I just WANTED this article to be 100% concrete :smiley:

Here is the full article for those not wanting/able to hit the link.

[spoiler]We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

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!

. [/spoiler]

Actually, I was hoping for a summary of the contents of the article rather than a “Look at this-what do you think?” OP.

Actually, my woo alarm went off repeatedly while reading that article, starting with the website itself (which is filled with woo) and proceeding to Lundell’s claim that any doubting of the lipid hypothesis with regard to heart disease is seen as “heresy” and could get you into malpractice trouble.

Dr. Lundell should know something about that sort of thing, based on his checkered history.

Lundell is a “dietary supplement” promoter and former advisor to a supplement company, which should also ring alarm bells, as should idiotic statements like this:

“The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences…”

Lundell is correct that inflammation is thought to play an important role in development of coronary atherosclerosis - but he flies off the deep end in blaming low-fat diets and use of statin drugs for causing the problem. In fact, statins have antiinflammatory properties which are thought to be one mechanism by which they work.

This sentence alone is enough to discredit him in my eyes. I mean, I’m pretty sure that the people following dietary guidelines are not the ones who develop obesity and diabetes.

For him to say that

is meaningless. First, how can a diet be both low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats? What kind of fat is it low in? Does he not see the need to make this difference clear?

Second, does it make no difference to him what kinds of carbohydrates are consumed? Is a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal the same to him as a piece of cake?

I wouldn’t call this woo, particularly, just a mish-mash of weird claims about nutrition.

A lot of the dietary restrictions of the past few decades was to reduce plaque buildup, which is the immediate cause of the inflammation. Now here’s the big question: What causes plaque buildup?

See: Atheroma - Wikipedia

Since plaque was full of cholesterol, doctors put patients on strict cholesterol intake diets. Problem with that is that the human body also makes its own cholesterol as well as get it from ingestion. So, you can cut all all dairy and red meat and still have high cholesterol. And so then it was discovered that there was good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and that whole thing. This made people question whether doctors knew what they were talking about and contributed to the woo meme that bad things really are good for you.

So… the doctor in question is a bit late to the dietary change bandwagon. And he has nothing to back up his claim that the new standard diet of avoiding saturated fat is now the culprit. Or is it too much simple carbohydrates? See, he’s not that clear because he has no evidence.

What the cause of the inflammation and plaque buildup is still not fully understood. And the doctor here is latching onto a new culprit without solid proof. Not that eating oneself into obesity with sugary food is a good thing… but how that may or may not directly or indirectly affect heart disease is still to be determined.

Great find, thank you!

It is funny but I found the article off a google search for connections between heart disease and inflammation. I read the article but never really looked at the site or the banner ads!

I still feel strongly about the role of inflammation and use of DHA/EPA but yeah looks like this guy should be taken with a hefty dose of skepticism.

This article from WebMD with cites from the Harvard Medical School might be a more traditional and non-WOO look at inflammations role in Heart Disease.

What about the Egyptian mummies? Recent research finds that Egyptians of 4500 years ago suffered from heart disease-long before fast foods.

QuackWatch doesn’t really go into it, but he ultimately lost his license because he was killing patients. I suspect he may not have your best interests at heart (no pun intended).

I love the sentence “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.” [emphasis added]

Finally I understand why eating oreos gives me massive internal bleeding and why I can feel granules of sand in my veins.
I really should cut down.

Yes they could. This is not news. Especially the part about cholesterol levels being unrelated to heart disease. I happened to become interested in this topic several years ago and did about a year’s worth of independent research on the topic. My conclusion was that the actual facts ( results of clinical research) did not support the prevailing medical advice. This was pointed out by several doctors and medical researchers, but they were shouted down by those with a vested interest in the outcomes (professional status, profit, etc).

There is a doctor named Uffe Ravnskov who is a key critic of the Lipid Hypothesis of heart disease. And his observations and conclusion do make sense.

It can be a useful exercise to actually read some of these studies yourself and compare your conclusions to those of others. You don’t have to be a scientific authority to apply critical reasoning and reach your own conclusions.

I’ve noticed that slowly more mainstream sources are expressing these same ideas, like Scientific American.

I have a copy of Dr. Ravnskov’s original book on this topic, The Cholesterol Myths. For a while it was unavailable because it was suppressed in his native country (Finland, I believe). Surprisingly, the hardcover version was selling on Amazon at one time for $500 and up.

So, where did you publish the results of your research?

Riiight…that bad ol’ Pharma Profit Conspiracy has us in its spell. No doctors or researchers ever get heart disease and/or take statins and follow a sensible diet, because they know the truth that they don’t want us to know. :rolleyes:

Yeah, what do those guys know? You can do lots better without any training and practical experience at all.


Some of those guys know quite a lot. But the loudest aren’t always the smartest. That’s why I made the effort to seek out some of the quieter voices. You should try it sometime.

Well, this will go well.

I heard a guy on the radio talk about how, back in the70’s, he was researching a type of chlamidia (not the STD) and found a startling correlation with chlamidia infection and arterial disease / plaque buildup. He tried to expand on his findings, but was throttled by the mainstream, who focused on lifestyle issues (cholesterol & diet, exercise, etc). He said he couldn’t get funded, and it ruined his career as a research scientist. I don’t remember his name, but here’s a more recent article on the subject, with what look like sensible conclusions (mostly being that more study is required, but that’s always the case!)

Also, I caught the tail end of a discussion with the author of The Great Cholesterol Myth. I haven’t read it, but it looks interesting.

I have long suspected that the cholesterol focus is obsessing on the symptom rather than the disease, but I haven’t studied it enough to build an informed opinion.