Dr. Dwight Lundell MD is a cardiologist who beat the drum of lowfat diet and cholesterol lowering drugs to prevent heart disease for over 25 years.
He has performed over 5,000 open heart surgeries and trained with prominent “opinion maker” physicians who considered any deviation from the recommended therapy of severely limited fat intake and cholesterol lowering meds to reduce heart disease risk complete heresy that could possibly result in a malpractice lawsuit.
Dr. Lundell now admits that this long held notion is wrong. Not only is it completely and utterly wrong, it is also scientifically and morally indefensible.
Following the recommended mainstream diet low in saturated fat and high in grain based carbohydrates has created an epidemic of obesity and diabetes “the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences”.
By following the recommended lowfat diet, Dr. Lundell says that people are unknowingly causing “repeated injury to their blood vessels”. This repeated injury, day in and day out, is what is causing rampant inflammation across all population groups which has resulted in the epidemic of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Inflammation the True Cause of Heart Disease
Dr. Lundell explains that a slow paradigm shift which identifies inflammation as the true cause of heart disease is occurring.
He goes on to say that the conventional lowfat diet which warns against saturated fats and promotes polyunsaturated vegetable oils as a healthier alternative is the biggest culprit in causing chronic and deadly inflammation.
Unless inflammation is present in the body, cholesterol is unable to accumulate in plaques in the blood vessels causing heart attacks and strokes. In an inflammation free body, cholesterol moves freely and causes no health problems.
In other words, it is inflammation caused by a lowfat diet that causes cholesterol to become trapped in the body. Cholesterol lowering drugs have been a dismal failure to eliminate or reduce the problem as 25% of the population now takes statin drugs and yet more Americans than ever will die of heart disease this year.
How One Innocent Donut Causes Deadly Inflammation
Dr. Lundell explains the deadly 3 step process of how eating a simple donut or sweet roll causes a cascade of inflammation in the body:
Step One: Refined Grains and Sugar Consumption Spike Blood Sugar
“Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.
When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.
What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. 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.”
Step Two: Omega 6 Vegetable Oils Produce Cytokines
It’s not just the refined grains and sugar in the donut causing spiking and crashing blood sugar that is the problem. Dr. Lundell continues by describing additional inflammation caused by the rancid omega 6, polyunsaturated oils (usually soybean) in the donut:
“That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell — they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.
If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation. “
Step Three: Excess Weight Pours Out Pro-Inflammatory Chemicals
The final nail in the coffin for producing exorbitant levels of inflammation when that innocent looking donut is consumed is the excess weight that most Americans are carrying:
“To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.”
Ditch the Lowfat Diet and Get Off the Inflammation Freight Train
Dr. Lundell counsels that mainstream medicine has made “a terrible mistake” by advising people to avoid saturated fats in favor of grain based foods containing vegetable oils. This flawed and dangerous recommendation is a direct contributor to the epidemic of inflammation that is plaguing the Western world in the form of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and numerous other ailments.
Dr. Lundell advises to leave manufactured vegetable oils and other processed foods behind and return to the whole, unprocessed diet of our ancestors.
As for the ideal fats in the diet, Dr. Lundell recommends olive oil and grassfed butter. He says the science that saturated fat causes heart disease is non-existent and the science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol as very weak.
Given that inflammation and not cholesterol causes heart disease, any concern about saturated fats in the diet is nothing short of “absurd” according to Dr. Lundell.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sources and More Information
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.