Although, much has been written, said, and discussed about Dr. Dwight Lundell’s confession which was published back in 2012 and went viral, we thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to revisit the topic and refresh our collective memory in the interest of healthy hearts.
Dr. Lundell, a former heart surgeon with twenty-five years of experience and over five thousand surgeries under his belt, came out with an essay or, rather, a confession of sorts that spoke about the misguided belief of health professionals and “opinion makers” that heart disease was the result of elevated blood cholesterol.
The standard treatment over the years has been prescribing medicines to lower cholesterol levels and a diet recommendation that considered fat intake a taboo. Deviations from the accepted norm are potentially liable for malpractice lawsuits, says Dr. Lundell in his essay.
The recommendations being made and practiced for more than two decades are “no longer scientifically or morally defensible, “he confesses.
“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,” admits Dr. Lundell.
He estimates that over 25 percent of the American population consumes costly “statin medications” and, in general, Americans have reduced their fat intake considerably according to recommendations for the treatment and prevention of heart disease.
So, why then, over 610,000 people die of heart disease in America every year as estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? According to them, one in every four deaths is the result of heart disease. Why are we still overweight? Why does obesity still exist? Why have all these been on the rise? These are the million-dollar questions, so to speak, that Dr. Lundell has tried to answer in his confessional essay. According to him, culprit number one is inflammation in the artery walls – the primary reason for heart disease.
“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 ailments will be treated,” he explains.
He believes that nature intended cholesterol to move freely in our arteries and there is no way it can harm our hearts unless its path is blocked by inflammation in the arteries causing the cholesterol “to become trapped.” What this means is cholesterol does not kill, it’s the inflammation in the artery walls that is the potential killer.
Dr. Lundell’s medical explanation of inflammation says that it is an uncomplicated natural defense mechanism of the body to protect it against bacteria, toxin and virus attacks. “The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders,’ he explains.
So, if he were to be believed, inflammation is a natural phenomenon meant to protect the body. So why are we calling it a potential killer?
“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,” says Dr. Lundell. This answers the above question in that it’s when inflammation becomes chronic it can be considered a potential killer.
We have unknowingly ravaged our arteries repeatedly by following the standard dietary recommendations of adopting a low fat and high polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates diet. The repeated injury that these foods inflict on the walls of our blood vessels leads to chronic inflammation and consequently heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity, believes Dr. Lundell.
“Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels are caused by the low-fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine,” Dr. Lundell says with great conviction.
To explain how the injury is actually caused, he uses the analogy of a stiff brush being repeatedly rubbed on the soft skin resulting in redness and near bleeding. Imagine what would happen if this assault on the skin repeatedly happened every day and continued for years.
If one could withstand the painful brushing of the skin for that long, it would be a “bleeding, swollen infected” mess. This is exactly what happens to our artery walls as a result of the recommended diet leading to heart disease.
The “culprits of chronic inflammation,” as Dr. Lundell calls them, 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.”
To put it simply, our eating habits, which have actually been recommended to us by medical professionals, cause grave injuries to our artery walls leading to chronic inflammation which, as we have discussed earlier, is the leading cause of heart disease – the potential killer.
“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,” explains Dr. Lundell.
What is heartening, literally, is that he believes inflammation can be checked and even reversed by following a proper diet regimen. He suggests that we return to natural or organic foods, more protein in our diet for strong muscles, complex carbohydrates that are found in “colorful fruits and vegetables,” and urges us to reduce or do away with “inflammation-causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them.”
What he basically means is that processed and packaged foods we pick up randomly in the grocery stores across the nation are damaging our arteries and says with conviction that switching over to fresh, unprocessed foods “will reverse years of damage.”
One can understand now why his essay received a lot of negative feedback and which quarters they came from. He had directly or indirectly spoken out against medical practitioners who recommended the standard diet and the manufacturers of these processed foods, a mammoth and powerful industry.
One is left with no choice but to commend the man, for his brave analysis and his courage to speak out on the subject irrespective of whom he would upset or offend.