By Dwight Lundell, MD
[Ed. Note: Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital, Mesa, AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is the author of "The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie"] .
“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 labeled “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!
These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailmentswill be treated.
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.
Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.
Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.
Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.
Inflammation is not complicated -- it is quite simply your body's natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.
What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body? Well, smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.
The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, Stroke, diabetes and obesity.
Let me repeat that. The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.
What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.
Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. You kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.
I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.
While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.
How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?
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? 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.
While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.
Let’s get back to the sweet roll. 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 as 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.
Today’s mainstream Standard American Diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.
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.
There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.
There is but one answer to reducing inflammation, and that is to return to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein but not grain fed beef. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on, or eliminate inflammation-causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them. One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.
Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labeled ‘polyunsaturated’. Forget the ‘science’ that has been drummed into your head for decades. The ‘science’ that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.
The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations (and a whole new weight loss industry) that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation.
Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.
What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical Standard American diet.
Food additives are substances added to food to increase shelf life, change its taste and appearance or make it cheaper and easier to manufacture. Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling with vinegar or salting bacon. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the 20th century, many more additives have been introduced, of both natural and artificial origin.
It's a sad fact, but food is not just food anymore. Over the past 50 years the use of food additives has skyrocketed to the point where very few of us have any real idea exactly what's in the food we eat. Alarmingly, the rates of diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, autism, depression, asthma and ADHD have also increased dramatically over this time. Every year, Australians consume over 5kg of food additives each, yet how many of us really know what these chemicals do, which ones are safe and which ones are known to be harmful?
As a rule of thumb, if a food manufacturer tries to hide behind an additive number like "colour 102" or a generic term like "natural flavour", they have something to hide. Generally, if a manufacturer is using a good product like "peppermint oil" as a flavour, they will put "peppermint oil" in the ingredient list, not "natural flavour".
Natural does not necessarily mean good or healthy. There are lots of natural poisons, and some products start life as a plant like soy and end as nasty food additives like soy lecithin after undergoing extensive processing. These products can still legally be labelled as "natural". It is important to remember that many so-called "natural" products are just as bad as many artificial products because of the processing they have undergone.
Not all food additives are harmful. However, there are at least 60 food additives used in our foods which are known to be harmful and many more which are highly questionable.
Many people believe that the government would not allow harmful food additives. Unfortunately this is not true. Often, the onus is on the public to prove that a food additive IS harmful, rather than on the manufacturer to prove that an additive is NOT harmful. There are many food additives approved for use in Australia that are banned in other countries. Our food regulator believes that a small amount of harmful food additives are OK. It is true that our bodies can cope with small amounts of toxic substances, but not the plethora of toxins we are exposed to daily.
When reading food labels, it is important to read what IS in the food, not the list of what is NOT in the food. Manufacturers like to make their products appear as healthy as possible and often use claims like "No Preservatives, No Artificial Colours" and so on. This is meaningless marketing hype in my opinion. Read the ingredient label and you may see a different picture. I saw a well known brand of chips recently that said "No Flavours" on the label, yet on reading the ingredients, found it contained MSG as well as other nasty additives. On contacting the manufacturer I was told that MSG technically is not a "flavour", it is a "flavour enhancer"! Manufacturers are willing to split hairs in order to make their product appear better than it really is.
Here are just 15 common food additives and their effects:
Tartrazine, Colour 102, hyperactivity, skin rashes, migraines, behavioural problems, thyroid problems, chromosome damage. Banned in Norway and Austria.
Sunset Yellow, Colour 110, cancer, allergies, hyperactivity, upset stomach, skin rashes, kidney tumours, chromosome damage. Banned in Norway.
Amaranth, Colour 123, cancer, gene damage, hyperactivity, asthma and eczema. Banned in USA (1976), Russia, Austria, Norway and others.
Allura Red, Colour 129, cancer, skin rashes, hypersensitivity. Banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Norway.
Brilliant Blue, Colour 133, cancer, hyperactivity, asthmatics should avoid. Banned in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Norway.
Caramel, Colour 150, gastro intestinal problems, hypersensitivity. This is often listed as a "natural colour".
Annatto, Colour 160b, Hypersensitivity, allergic reactions, skin irritations, behaviour and learning problems. Concerns about toxicity still being evaluated by JECFA yet is still freely used. Often listed as "natural colour".
Sulphur Dioxide, Preservative 220, gastric irritation/damage, hyperactivity, behavioural problems, gene damage, skin irritations, lung damage. Can be fatal to asthmatics.
Sodium Nitrate, Preservative 251, Hyperactivity, behavioural problems, asthma, headaches, dizziness, cancer. Prohibited in foods for infants and young children.
tert-Butylhydroquinone, Antioxidant 319, cancer, birth defects, nausea, vomiting, delirium, collapse, dermatitis. Dose of 5g is fatal.
Carrageenan, Vegetable gum 407, cancer, ulcerative colitis, damage to the immune system, birth defects. Do not give to infants and young children. Often listed as "natural".
Monosodium L-glutamate or MSG, Flavour enhancer 621, Asthma, hyperactivity, depression, mood changes, sleeplessness, nausea, migraine, infertility, birth defects, convulsions, abdominal discomfort. Hidden sources of MSG include Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Yeast Extract, and others. Note that these can also be described as "natural".
Disodium 5-ribonucleotides, Flavour enhancer 635, Can cause terrible itchy skin rashes, hyperactivity, sleeplessness, mood changes, many varied ill effects reported. Banned in many countries - very common in Australian foods. Asthmatics should avoid.
Aspartame, Artificial sweetener 951, Linked to many health problems including cancer, asthma, nausea, depression, hyperactivity, seizures. The most complained about food additive accounting for 75% of all complaints to FDA.
Propylene glycol, Humectant 1520, toxicity, kidney failure, depression of Central Nervous System, liver damage, birth defects, on NIH Hazards list. Humectant used to coat fruit and vegetables. US has placed a total recall of any medication containing this additive yet it is still permitted in food.
Links for further information:
What's REALLY in our food?
Ever wonder what’s really in the food sold at grocery stores around the world? People keep asking me, “What ingredients should I avoid?” So I put together a short list that covers all the most toxic and disease-promoting ingredients in the food supply. These are the substances causing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and leading to tens of billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs across America and around the world. If you want to stay healthy and out of the hospital, read ingredients labels and make sure you avoid all these ingredients:
Acrylamides - Toxic, cancer-causing chemicals formed in foods when carbohydrates are exposed to high heat (baking, frying, grilling). They’re present in everything from bread crusts to snack chips, and because they aren’t intentional ingredients, acrylamides do NOT have to be listed on labels.
Aspartame – Chemical sweetener that causes neurological disorders, seizures, blurred vision and migraine headaches (Nutra Sweet).
Autolysed or Hydrolysed Proteins – Highly processed form of protein containing free glutamate and used to mimic the taste-enhancer chemical MSG.
BPA (Bisphenol-A) – A hormone mimicking chemical found in nearly all food packaging plastics. Active in just parts per billion, BPA promotes cancer, infertility and hormone disorders. It also “feminizes” males, promoting male breast growth and hormone disruption.
Casein – Milk proteins. Hilariously, this is widely used in “soy cheese” products that claim to be alternatives to cow’s milk. Nearly all of them are made with cow’s milk proteins.
Corn Syrup - Just another name for High Fructose Corn Syrup (see below). Frequently used in infant formula products.
Food Colors – FD&C Red #40, for example, is linked to behavioral disorders in children. Nearly all artificial food colors are derived from petroleum, and many are contaminated with aluminum.
Genetically Modified Ingredients – Not currently listed on the label because the GMO industry (Monsanto and DuPont) absolutely does not want people to know which foods contain GMOs. Nearly all conventionally grown corn, soy and cotton are GMOs. They’re linked to severe infertility problems and may even cause the bacteria in your body to produce and release a pesticide in your own gut. If you’re not eating organic corn, you’re definitely eating GMO corn.
High Fructose Corn Syrup – A highly processed liquid sugar extracted with the chemical solvent glutaraldehyde and frequently contaminated with mercury. It’s also linked to diabetes, obesity and mood disorders. Used in thousands of grocery items, including things you wouldn’t suspect like pizza sauce and salad dressings.
Hydrochloride - When you see anything hydrochloride, such as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride or Thiamin Hydrochloride, those are chemical forms of B vitamins that companies add to their products to be able to claim higher RDA values of vitamins. But these are synthetic, chemical forms of vitamins, not real vitamins from foods or plants. Nutritionally, they are near-useless and may actually be bad for you.
Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein – A highly processed form of (usually) soy protein that’s processed to bring out the free glutamate (MSG). Use as a taste enhancer.
Partially Hydrogenated Oils - Oils that are modified using a chemical catalyst to make them stable at room temperature. This creates trans fatty acids and greatly increases the risk of blocked arteries. It also promotes what I call “sludge blood,” which is thick, viscous blood that’s hard to pump. This is usually diagnosed by doctors as “high blood pressure” and treated with blood-thinning medications that are technically the same chemicals as rat poison (warfarin).
Phosphoric Acid – The acid used in sodas to dissolve the carbon dioxide and add to the overall fizzy-ness of the soda. Phosphoric acid will eat steel nails. It’s also used by stone masons to etch rocks. The military uses it to clean the rust off battleships. In absolutely destroys tooth enamel. Search Google Images for “Mountain Dew Mouth” to see photos of teeth rotted out by phosphoric acid.
Propylene Glycol – A liquid used in the automotive industry to winterise RVs. It’s also used to make the fake blueberries you see in blueberry muffins, bagels and breads. (Combined with artificial colors and corn syrup.)
Sodium (Salt) - The processed white salt lacking in trace minerals. In the holistic nutrition industry, we call it “death salt” because it promotes disease and death. Real salt, on the other hand, such as “dirty” sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, is loaded with the trace minerals that prevent disease, such as selenium (cancer), chromium (diabetes) and zinc (infectious disease). Much like with bread and sugar, white salt is terrible for your health. And don’t be fooled by claims of “sea salt” in grocery stores. All salt came from the sea if you go far back enough in geologic time, so they can slap the “sea salt” claim on ANY salt!
Sodium Nitrite or Nitrate – A cancer-causing red colouring chemical added to bacon, hot dogs, sausage, beef jerky, ham, lunch meats, pepperoni and nearly all processed meats. Strongly linked to brain tumors, pancreatic cancers and colon cancers. The USDA once tried to ban it from the food supply but was out-manoeuvred by the meat industry, which now dominates USDA regulations. Sodium nitrite is a complete poison used to make meats look fresh. Countless children die of cancer each year from sodium nitrite-induced cancers.
Soy Protein – The No. 1 protein source used in “protein bars,” including many bars widely consumed by bodybuilders. Soy protein is the “junk protein” of the food industry. It’s made from genetically modified soybeans (often grown in China) and then subjected to hexane, a chemical solvent that can literally explode.
Sucralose – An artificial chemical sweetener sold as Splenda. The sucralose molecule contains a chlorine atom. Researchers have repeatedly found that artificial sweeteners make people fat by actually promoting weight gain.
Sugar – The bleached, nutritionally-deficient byproduct of cane processing. During sugar cane processing, nearly all the minerals and vitamins end up in the blackstrap molasses that’s usually fed to farm animals. (Blackstrap molasses is actually the “good” part of sugar cane juice.) Molasses is often fed to farm animals because every rancher knows that farm animals need good nutrition to stay alive. Amazingly, conventional doctors don’t yet realize this about humans, and they continue to claim that eating sugar is perfectly fine for you. Sugar promotes diabetes, obesity, mood disorders and nutritional deficiencies.
Textured Vegetable Protein - Usually made of soy protein which is extracted from genetically modified soybeans and then processed using hexane, an explosive chemical solvent (see Soy Protein, above). Widely used in vegetarian foods such as “veggie burgers” (most of which also contain MSG or Yeast Extract, by the way).
Yeast Extract - Hidden form of MSG that contains free glutamate and is used in many “natural” food products to claim “No MSG!” Yeast extract contains up to 14% free glutamate. You’ll find it in thousands of grocery store products, from soups to snack chips. I even once spotted it used on fresh meat!
Food label tricks
Here’s a trick food companies frequently used to pack more sugar into their products without making sugar look like the first ingredient:
Ingredient labels, you see, must list the most prominent ingredients first, and some consumers might freak out of they saw a box of cereal that said, “Sugar, whole grain wheat, corn” and so on. Instead, the company uses 3 or 4 different forms of sugar to distribute them farther down the label, like this:
“Whole grain wheat, sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids…”
This way, the first ingredients looks like “whole grain wheat” when, in reality, the cereal might be over fifty percent sugars!
How to buy honest food
• Shop are your local farmer’s market, food co-op or CSA.
• In the USA, look for the USDA Organic label on foods. This is a legitimate claim to being certified organic. It’s one of the few programs run by the USDA that actually has integrity.
• Read the ingredients labels! If you see names of chemicals you can’t pronounce, don’t buy it.
• Buy more unprocessed food ingredients and make your own meals rather than buying ready-to-eat, processed foods, which are almost universally formulated with disease-promoting ingredients.
• GROW some of your own food! The best food you can ever eat is food from your own garden.
This article was published by www.healthfreedoms.org