If you have heart disease or any of its risk factors (family history, high blood pressure, overweight, diabetes, inactivity, or you smoke), you definitely want to put this documentary on your schedule. Dr. Gupta delves into the most recent findings in heart disease assessment and prevention and goes far beyond what the average doc will tell you about the latest cholesterol-lowering meds or stent placement.
One interesting new development is that doctors are now suggesting that just looking at the number of HDL and LDL cholesterol (the good and the bad, respectively) in the blood is actually not that accurate. People have been getting heart attacks even if they are at a healthy weight and have “good” cholesterol levels. Why? In the documentary, Dr. Agatson (author of The South Beach Diet) says this number is “useless” and that we should instead be looking at the size of the LDL. Smaller particles more easily get lodged into the walls of the arteries and create plaque.
But now what you’ve all been waiting for… What’s the secret to the last heart attack? Instead of relying on stents and bypasses, which only treat the problem, the answer is to go after the cause, with the best-case scenario being to stop the problem before it starts. Diet plays a key role.
Dr. Gupta interviews quite a few people who believe the answer is through a vegan diet (no meat, fish, poultry, eggs or dairy) with minimal or no oil. Dr. Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Ornish of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, and Dr. Mason, chief medical officer of Cook County Hospitals in Chicago are three of the diet’s biggest advocates. After requiring emergency bypass surgery, former President Bill Clinton decided to make some serious changes in his diet. A former lover of fast food, Clinton now eats a strict vegan diet, and says that he “loves it.” Not only does he feel healthier, but he’s also about 20 lbs. lighter and has more energy.
Dr. Esselstyn says the vegan, no/low oil diet is not just about preventing a heart attack, but about actually reversing heart disease. He has seen the plaque in patients’ arteries actually clear up after strictly following the diet. This is a huge achievement because it isn’t something that has been seen in other heart healthy diet plans.
This documentary is an informative, eye-opening look at one of the biggest diseases threatening us today. Whether you have heart disease or not, take the hour to watch and learn from this doctor. Your heart will thank you for it!