When it comes to your health, look as far back as possible in the causal chain of evens to find a solution to a problem instead of looking at putting a potent pill on the last symptom, assuming you’re not a case for the emergency room yet. What goal you want is powerful healing rather than covering the latest symptom. All bets off if you’re in a crisis where emergency action is needed within minutes if not seconds.
One example might be looking at cholesterol before you pop a statin pill. The more cholesterol receptors you were born with, the more efficiently your metabolic system removes cholesterol from your bloodstream.
How many cholesterol receptors did you inherit?
If you were born with only a tiny number of cholesterol receptions, which you inherited from family members, the more your blood cholesterol level will increase when you eat saturated fat and cholesterol. Here, we’re talking about the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, not the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, which you want to have at an increased number.
Who discovered all this? Two Nobel prize winners, Drs. Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein won the Nobel prize in medicine in 1985 because they found out how LDL receptors work. Those LDL receptors are located in your liver cells. Their job is to remove LDL cholesterol from your blood.
Pritikin Eating Plan versus Paleo Diet versus the Blood Sugar Solution
About that time, there was a movement in the country to eat very low fat diets, about 10% fat, to reverse high cholesterol and also reverse fat and calcium-clogged arteries and organs. You have the Pritikin Diet competing with the Atkins Diet in the 1980s and early 1990s. See the Pritikin Eating Plan.
The Pritikin eating plan includes a high-carb, low fat regimin. You can eat as many whole grains, vegetables, legumes (such as beans and peas), and fruits as you want. Enjoy more calorie-dense foods such as avocados and nuts, but limit them to keep your weight under control. Limit avocado intake to no more than 2 ounces per day. Limit walnuts, flaxseeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, pistachios, sunflower seeds, filberts (hazelnuts), peanuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts to no more than 1 ounce per day.
You don’t eat foods such as egg yolks, (whites are limited to one or two per day) butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, lard, chicken fat, palm oil, cocoa butter, chocolate, margarine, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and shortenings. Also you don’t eat cheese, cream, cream cheese, half-and-half, ice cream, milk, sour cream, and yogurt, unless fat-free and low in sodium.
Also you don’t eat or you limit as much as possible foods containing refined grains (such as white pasta, white bread, and white rice). And you don’t add salt to your foods. In fact you avoid added salt, and highly salted, pickled, and smoked foods. Limit foods that have more than 1 mg of sodium per calorie so as not to exceed 1200 to 1500 mg of sodium per day, depending on age. The older you are, the less salt added to foods you are supposed to consume.
If you have a condition aggravated by sweets such as high levels of insulin in your blood or insulin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, don’t sweeten your foods. For healthy individuals who choose to use sweeteners, a suggested rule of thumb is a maximum of 2 tablespoons of fruit juice concentrate or 1 tablespoon of other refined sweeteners (such as barley malt, corn syrup, rice syrup) per 1000 calories consumed. None is optimal.
Avoid fructose and high fructose corn syrup. The Pritikin diet plan website doesn’t mention stevia as a sweetener which actually is zero calories and not synthetic. It’s from the stevia plant, and doesn’t raise your blood sugar or insulin levels like corn syrup, rice syrup, or barley malt does. The site first mentions corn syrup and then high fructose corn syrup, but doesn’t note that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are similar or the same.
For hot beverages, the Pritikin site mentions as fine to consume, drinking water (plain, bottled, low-sodium, mineral), hot grain beverages (coffee substitutes), and non-medicinal herbal teas (such as peppermint, rosehips, or chamomile), and cocoa powder – up to 2 tablespoons per day (use non-alkali processed).
Consuming fat and cholesterol
If you don’t eat saturated fat from dairy or animals such as meat, cheese, or eggs and eat mostly vegetables, beans, legumes, some grains, and some fruit, even if you have few cholesterol receptors in your liver cells, it doesn’t matter much if you’re not eating much fat.
Even a 20% fat diet has too much saturated fat and cholesterol in it according to the reversal diet touted in the book, Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, published in 1990 and 1996. The nineties decade focused on reversing clogged arteries and high cholesterol by eating a diet lower than 10 percent fats. See the sites, Does Ornish Diet Work? and A Diet That Restricts Daily Fat Intake to 10% Can Help Fight Against Heart Disease. Today, the typical American diet is a whopping 40% fat.
In 2012 we have diets such as the The Blood Sugar Solution | Reverse Diabesity in Just 6 Weeks that focuses on eating foods that don’t quickly turn to sugar in the bloodstream and cause high insulin levels.
The foundation of Dr. Ornish’s studies report the following:
- Each gram of fat contains nine calories while protein and carbohydrates contain four calories per gram. A person can essentially eat more food on a very low-fat diet since fewer calories are consumed in each meal.
- “Eating fat makes you fat.” and causes heart disease. Fat that is ingested by the body is easily converted into body fat. Complex carbohydrates, the staple of low-fat diets, are less easily converted to body fat. Complex carbohydrates are starches such as grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits.
- Saturated fat is converted by the liver to cholesterol and raises the blood cholesterol level. Saturated fat is found largely in animal products, but high amounts are also found in avocados, nuts, and seeds. Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat do not raise cholesterol levels.
Dr. Ornish’s reversal diet for cleaning out clogged arteries:
The Reversal Diet is a vegetarian diet, consisting mostly of complex carbohydrates. Eating lower amounts of protein is healthy as long as you get some protein from the vegetables you eat. See,The Ornish Spectrum and Weight Loss & Diet Plans – Review: Eat More, Weigh Less. WebMD evaluates the Dr. Dean Ornish diet philosophy adapted from his regimen to reverse heart disease.
Frank Hu, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health, is critical of how severely fat is limited on Dr. Ornish’s reversal diet, according to the WebMD site. “The data from numerous studies show that it is the type of fat, rather than the total amount, which is related to cardiovascular health,” he says, according to the website. “Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils actually protect against cardiovascular incidents.” For example, Hu says, Ornish advocates limiting the consumption of fish and nuts, and Hu adds, “There is strong evidence that the fat in them is protective against coronary heart disease in both epidemiological studies and clinical trials.”
Vegetarian foods do not contain cholesterol as do animal products, and they are low in saturated fat (except foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, cocoa, olives, and coconut), according to a summary of Dr. Ornish’s Reversal Diet is listed below. The diet has the following restrictions:
- “has less than 10% of calories from fat, and little of it is saturated
- excludes foods high in saturated fat (such as avocados, nuts, and seeds)
- is high in fiber
- allows but does not encourage moderate alcohol consumption (less than two ounces per day)
- excludes all oils and all animal products except nonfat milk [and nonfat dairy products] and nonfat yogurt [i.e. meats, poultry, seafood are all excluded]
- allows egg whites
- excludes caffeine, other stimulants, and MSG
- allows moderate use of salt and sugar
- is not restricted in calories”
The purpose of the reversal diet is to help unclog arteries stuffed up with plaque, cholesterol, and calcium as an alternative to getting bypass surgery. The majority of his participants on the reversal diet had some success in cleaning out some of their arteries to an extent where they got better blood flow. For more information on the results of tests with patients on his studies, see the book, Dr. Dean Ornish’s program for reversing heart disease. The program is based on landmark research published in the Journal of the American Medical Society. See the book, Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease.
Dr. Ornish’s reversal diet says eat all the calories you want as long as they’re vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus and not starchy fried potatoes or pasta
Most people on Dr. Ornish’s reversal diet consume fewer calories than the average person residing in the United States. According to the book, Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, the typical American diet consists of :
- 40% to 50% of fat, most of which is saturated
- 25% to 35% carbohydrates
- 25% protein
- 400 to 500 mg cholesterol daily
In contrast, his Reversal Diet consists of the following:
- 10% fat, most of which is polyunsaturated or monounsaturated
- 70% to 75% carbohydrates
- 15% to 20% protein
- 5 mg cholesterol daily
Too much protein can cause bone loss
Dr. Ornish dispels the myth that a diet lower in protein is harmful to the body and states that the amount of protein recommended in his Reversal Diet is sufficient for the body. Of the 22 amino acids that combine to form proteins in the body, nine, the “essential” amino acids, must be obtained through diet.
Three of the nine “essential” amino acids are critical: lysine, tryptophan, and methionine. The remaining six amino acids are found in most foods.
Plant based foods contain the three critical amino acids in varying amounts. So you simply eat a variety of foods to obtain the necessary amino acids.
To obtain enough protein on Dr. Ornish’s reversal diet, you eat grains and legumes or you combine grains or legumes with small amounts of nonfat yogurt or skim milk to get a complete protein. Nonfat yogurt and skimmed milk is allowed, as the diet isn’t totally vegan.
Dr. Ornish notes that plant-derived protein is identical to the protein found in animal products. That’s why beans and brown or black rice or quinoa or similar grains that are not overly starchy such as white rice is lost by eating beans rather than chicken chunks, steak, burgers, or fish.
You don’t have to eat lots of fat to get your essential fatty acids
Dr. Ornish also dispels the myth that a person must consume a significant amount of fat to ensure that the body is ingesting the correct amount of essential fatty acids. In to get your daily essential fatty acids, the average person needs to consume less than 14 grams of fat daily. If you’re deficient in fat, it could be because your body has a problem absorbing fat.
Even vegetables contain some fat. Also, many people take a spoon full of cod liver oil to get their omega 3 fatty acids with DHA for nourishing their brain and eyes. But in the 1990s when Dr. Dean Ornish’s book, was first published, fish oil wasn’t touted that much in the book. What the book noted then is that fish oil thinned the blood.
By 2012 fish oil was recommended in the book, Metabolic Cardiology | Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s Heart MD Institute along with the four super supplements, magnesium, CoenzymeQ10, D-ribose, and L-carnitine for energizing the heart of those who have heart disease or are elderly and lacking enough ATP energy in their mitochondria and for those whose own mitochondria aren’t making full use of oxygen in the lungs for exercise, walking, or general quality of life.
The Paleo diet
Another diet that’s supposed to reduce your risk of heart disease is called the Paleo Diet. See, The Paleo Diet | Dr. Loren Cordain, Founder of the Paleo Diet. This diet is supposed to do the following? It’s touted as the world’s healthiest diet, based upon the fundamental concept that the optimal diet is the one to which we are genetically adapted. But do you have enough cholesterol receptors in your liver cells to handle the Paleo diet? Other people define a type of Paleo diet that consists of eating just what grows in the ground.
The original Paleo diet included meats, for example consuming grass-fed animal meats, not corn-fed animals or other grain-fed animal meat along with vegetables. The therapeutic effect of the Paleo Diet is supported by both randomized controlled human trials and real-life success. The question is whether you have the family history, body shape, and blood type as well as the genes and enough cholesterol receptors to become healthier on the Paleo Diet? Or would your body respond better to a vegetarian diet if you had too few cholesterol receptors and your arteries quickly fill up when you eat meats, grass-fed or not?
The Paleo diet also can be an anti-inflammatory approach to eating that focuses on the PD4As. Check it out to see whether your body responds better to this diet or to a vegetarian diet, or whether your problem is high insulin levels and too many sweets that might benefit by the blood sugar diet as noted in the book, The Blood Sugar Solution | Reverse Diabesity in Just 6 Weeks.
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., is mentioned on the The Paleo Diet website as the world’s leading expert on Paleolithic diets. The site gives you detailed information about the effects of fatty acids on your body, for example the following:
“The terms “fats” and “fatty acids” are often used interchangeably in lay literature and by news media. In fact, fatty acids are sub-units of fats. Most of the common fats that we eat and the fat we store in our body are technically called acylglycerols, which are fatty acids (acyl group) linked to an alcohol (glycerol) via an ester bond (connects acid + alcohol by eliminating a water molecule). Acylglycerols (fats) can have:
One fatty acid (acyl) group + glycerol: and are called monoacylglycerol or monoglycerides
Two fatty acid (acyl) groups + glycerol: and are called diacylglycerol or diglycerides
Three fatty acid (acyl) groups + glycerol: and are called triacylglycerol or triglycerides
This diet is supposed to do the following to improve your health:
- Reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and most chronic degenerative diseases that affect people in the western world
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Improve your athletic performance
- Slow or reverse progression of an autoimmune disease
- Improve or eliminate acne
- Sleep better and have more energy throughout the day
- Enjoy an increased libido
- Improve your mental outlook and clarity
- Enjoy a longer, healthier, more active life