There is plenty of evidence suggesting that a low simple carb diet is a heart healthy diet see link below
A gold standard study in Israel using low carb Vs Med Diet Vs Low Fat diet came down overwhelmingly in favour of the low carb diet. There is also plenty of evidence linking cancer and sugar consumption. Cancer cells thrive on a high sugar environment. I recently visited a friend in hospital and every ward has a Coca Cola machine in the entrance to the ward. The most prolific doctor in the hospital in terms of impact on health is Dr Pepper. Macmillan cancer trust promote cancer treatment and prevention by organising cake/sugar and coffee mornings. The British Heart foundation has just gone into partnership with Warburton the bread manafacturers.
How deep does this rabbit warren go. What does it take for these medical institutions to actually say to themselves, ‘maybe that’s not a good idea’. If there is one food I would suggest giving up in order to improve your heart, given its widespread use in our disease ridden western society, it would be bread. These organisations are effectively giving a green light for these food stuffs to most people who don’t have time to research for themselves.
This is a terrific read from Denise Minger. She go’s into more detail on the link between Wheat and heart disease within the China study data. Dont worry its not mathematical, in this article she tries to find co factors that might be nudging wheat into the box labelled ‘heart disease’ but alas she cannot and concludes that wheat still looks like a likely villain.
Also there is a good study here that shows that Oats are beneficial whilst wheat has a detrimental effect on lipid markers
The Framlingham study is a huge long standing study of the people of Framlingham USA and is still currently ongoing. You would have thought that this study, given our obsession with lowering total Cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, would have some pretty powerful data to back up this hypothesis surrounding TC and LDL. The fact is that it doesn’t support it. In fact the most compelling statistical connection to heart disease according to The Fat Surprise author, is that HDL levels are a very powerful indicator. Those people with low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) are at far higher risk than those with higher levels and this provides a better indicator overall.
Why is it then that lowering LDL and TC have grabbed all the attention and raising HDL is a less mentioned component. Well it’s pretty simple, drug companies tried to come up with a HDL boosting drug but failed miserably. They just could not crack it in the same way that they found solutions to lowering LDL with Statins. The toxic mix of politics and money when it comes to your health can never be more evident than with this dodgy prevailing Lipid theory coupled with the Fat causes heart disease otherwise known as the diet heart theory. If the captain of the Titanic had decided that the best course of action after hitting an iceberg was to try for a gash on the other side of the boat with a second berg, just to balance things up then we could still have congratulated him on doing a better job than the current medical profession on heart disease advice.
One suggestion as a better indicator of your overall heart attack chances is put forward below and involves a simple calculation of your TG/HDL ratio.
We have all heard the old joke that going veggie’ does not make you live longer, it just feels that way. I must admit that 18 months ago I first fell under the persuasive spell of Dr Dean Ornish and Dr T Campbell who are passionate veggie preachers but these days I am a little less convinced. On the other side of the fence are the likes of the Paleo diet enthusiasts who firmly believe that meat forms a logical and healthy part of our natural diet. There is strong evidence to suggest that veggie’s do not really live any longer but do they have healthier hearts ?. With population based studies it is very difficult to seperate out all the variables and decide which have the strongest influence. For example seven day eventist’s have better health records than the average meat eater (most are veggies), but being religous its quite likely that they are less likely to smoke and no doubt have stronger social support networks.
One group of people that I recently found interesting was the Masai tribe. These people were investigated by that incredible dentist (yes you would love to have a doctor of his calibre let alone a dentist), Dr Weston Price. Back in the early 20th century he was checking these people out along with their neighboring tribe the Akikuyu. The Masai have a diet dominated by milk, meat and animal blood. The Akikuyu have a diet that is much closer to being veggie. The contrast between the two is clear. The Masai are taller, stronger and have little or no teeth cavities (hard for Price to take a day off it seems). The Akikuyu were healthy and had good teeth by Western standards but were inferior to the Masai. It should also be noted that the Masai tend to eat animal organs eg liver, heart kidneys etc and throw the leans muscle meat to the dogs.
Masai who were found to have moved to the cities were not surprisingly in much poorer health than their country cousins who display little or no heart disease.
My take on all this is that meat per se is not bad for you but the modern form of meat we eat in the west probably is. When you eat meat you have to take into account what the meat ate and this is where we run into trouble. Western meat is generally factory farmed and fed on grains so by eating the meat we are getting an extra dose of poor quality grains in addition to the crap we are consuming in our bread, breakfast cereals and so on.
If you can get truly free range meat then by all means stay with it. I will occasionally eat free range chicken and a little more frequently lambs liver. Buffalo would be a good choice too as I would hope that buffalo has not reached the stage yet where its trussed up in shed and force fed grain swill. Take care when enquiring about it though, I went in one restaurant recently that was a steak restaurant and asked the waitress if they served buffalo, she said yes and pointed to the buffalo wings on the menu. (no I am not trying to end on a joke, it actually happened)
Here is a link to Chris Masterjohns research into grass V grain fed beef
FOOTNOTE- What an appropriate name for the good doctor given the effects of our diet on healthy populations