Mediterranean Diet is Best: Low Fat Can Clog Your Arteries

“Did you know there are two things that will give better results in preventing heart attacks than all the new heart and cholesterol-lowering drugs combined? Increase your intake of pure water and eat a Mediterranean Diet. This combination alone will reduce your odds of suffering a heart attack by more than 50%.”

You’ve all heard the story – and I’ve heard it hundreds of times. A heart patient with clogged arteries has bypass surgery, is put on several powerful drugs, is instructed to take lots of synthetic vitamin E, CoQ10, niacin, and more, starts with an intensive cardiac rehabilitative exercise program, and begins a new life on the standard medical low-fat diet. In this case it was John Loquin, and he suffered every day on the ridiculous low-fat diet, but opted to stick with it. After all, his life depended on it – right?

After a year on the program, he is depressed, has chest pains, is weak, has lost weight and does not look good. When his chest pains continue to worsen he undergoes another heart catheterization. He and his cardiologist are aghast at the results – his arteries are now plugged worse. He faces more heart drugs, more heart surgery and most important, he is at an extremely high risk of dying unless someone wakes up and changes his diet and treatment protocol.

A Tale of Two Protocols
Now compare John Loquin to Dr. James Andrews – who came to me obese (290 lbs) with heart disease, liver disease (5x normal liver enzymes on his blood tests), diabetes with a blood glucose of 250, and hypertension with blood pressure around 200/100. Instead of synthetic nutrients, Dr. Jim started on whole food cardio-tonic nutrients that I recommended. Instead of cardiac rehab exercises, he started on a strong daily walk and deep breathing, and then slowly added in weight lifting. And most important, instead of the ridiculous low-fat diet with lots of artificial, low-fat, zero-fat, heart-healthy, low-cholesterol, zero-cholesterol, and other non-foods, he started on a Mediterranean diet.

Like thousands of our other patients and readers, Dr. Jim’s results were radically different from the standard cardiac patient. After six months his liver enzymes were normal. His blood sugar was normal. And his blood pressure was 132/70 – all without drugs which he weaned himself from by the end of month 4. He looked great, felt great, and had lost more than 60 pounds. Even I was pleasantly surprised. But what really shocked me was that as a physician, I never thought Dr. Andrew would follow my advice and stray from the medical gold standard of statin drugs and a low-fat diet.

John Loquin’s wife called me and said she would get her husband to speak with me. She begged him to call me. He was always “going to call me,” but never did. His wife later contacted me to tell me that John’s heart started beating wildly, requiring yet another powerful heart drug.  One evening soon after, and before any more surgery, Mrs. Loquin heard at thud in the living room, and found her husband on the floor. She called 911 but he was already dead.

Dr. Jim, on the other hand is still doing well. He’s active, down to 200 lbs, and drug free. He continues to practice internal medicine, working in his office and the hospital at least 4 days a week. He stays with his diet, exercise and supplements, and continues to lose weight. To say his life has changed is an understatement.

The Mediterranean Diet
Almost 20 years ago I warned about the dangers of the low-fat diet and heart drugs. I had already switched to a Mediterranean diet for my heart patients – a sin in medical circles at the time. I simply evaluated the nutrient content of my whole-foods Mediterranean diet vs. a low-fat diet. Mine is nutrient-dense thanks to lots of high-quality protein; moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates; and plenty of quality fat from fish, lean meat, eggs,  beans, soup and stews and healthy oils; vegetables and fruits; Celtic sea salt; and natural seasonings. And it is delicious and easy to follow, with meals that are simple to prepare.

Compare this to bizarre, extreme, low-fat diet consisting of salads without any dressing, parmesan cheese with croutons; with steamed vegetables, plain white rice, no oil, no coffee, no wine, and no dessert. This type of diet is nutrient-deficient, and even the nutrients that are in the diet will be difficult for your body to use because fat is needed to absorb and utilize nutrients. And it is no fun. How long can you stay on this diet before you are tired, depressed, and ready to quit? This vs. a diet that is nutrient-dense, enjoyable, tasty and made up of the whole foods of life? The Mediterranean, heart-healthy diet is a fare that you can live with and one that will make you well.

Medicine Finally Catches Up to Health Alert
Over the past 20 years I’ve been chastised over my recommendations, even though we get the best results in the world with heart patients, and we’ve helped more heart patients than anyone else. And now, just about 25 years later – about the usual amount of time needed for a change in medicine to begin to take hold – the headlines read, “Study Backs Mediterranean Diet.” The latest, coming from the NEJM, Feb. 25th 2013, simply states the same facts.

The study researchers found that this type of diet will reduce your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease by almost a third. The study followed over 7,000 folks for more than 5 years. And the results were called “pretty dramatic.” In fact, the results were so clear that the study was ended early. And one of the top cardiologist said “if this were a pill, people would be clamoring for it.” In the meantime, the American Heart Association still recommends a low-fat diet.

Whether you have heart disease or not, whether you might get heart disease or not, whether you are diabetic or not, and whether you are obese or not, the Mediterranean diet is best. It can easily be modified to suit your particular health and metabolism. It is easy to prepare meals. It is nutrient-dense. And it is easy to stick with. There are lots of great and easy-to-read books on the Mediterranean Diet. I like Low Fat Lies by Vigilante & Flynn. If you do have heart disease, fear a heart attack or stroke, or if you have already had a heart attack or stroke, you will need four things to actually cure yourself – a concept thought impossible by traditional medicine. You will need: 1) some form of a Mediterranean diet;    2) the correct whole-food supplements to get you caught up on the cardio-tonic nutrients your heart requires, and which are deficient thanks to years of nutrient-deficient diet; 3) some form of exercise; and 4) pure water.

Supplements Are Not Created Equal
Store-bought, synthetic, isolated and fractionated vitamins and nutritional supplements, no matter how “potent,” will simply not help. This has been scientifically proven over and over again. You will need the real, whole-food, raw, live, naturally low-dose, nutritionally complex supplements that your body can digest, metabolize and utilize to actually help you heal your own heart.