Cardiac surgeon says beef can help prevent heart disease

Want to reduce inflammation and prevent common health woes like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and more? Consider adding more beef to your diet.

Amanda Radke

April 18, 2018

4 Min Read
Cardiac surgeon says beef can help prevent heart disease
Amanda Radke

I had lunch with a friend the other day, who also happens to be a doctor, and we got on the subject of diets. She was criticizing the new fad of the Keto diet, which follows along the same lines of other popular diets like low carb or Atkins, just to name a few.

I quickly realized she must not read my blog because she seemed surprised when I told her I didn’t buy into the low-fat diets prescribed by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans for the last 50+ years. I explained to her how this misguided advice has created an obesity epidemic in this country, and demonizing nutritious whole foods like beef, butter and cheese has been a horrible experiment in human health.

I find it very concerning that a newly graduated and trained doctor received the same old, tired information during her years of schooling that has led Americans to become fatter and sicker. And I wonder if the cycle will ever end?

However, it is refreshing to read that some doctors are starting to see the light. After all, our health is largely determined by our diets, and treating the symptoms only masks the causes of disease. Wouldn’t it make more sense to be more preventative by eating well to avoid diseases instead of popping a pill after we get heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or worse?

READ: How Men's Health got it wrong on heme iron in beef

A BEEF reader recently sent me an article on this topic titled, “World renowned heart surgeon Dr. Dwight Lundell speaks out on what really causes heart disease.” Published in The Power of Ideas, Dr. Lundell, who left his cardiac surgery career in order to focus on nutritional treatment of heart disease, explains how certain foods cause inflammation in the body (and I’ll give you one guess…those inflammatory foods aren’t beef)!

Lundell writes, “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.

“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. 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.”

So what should we be eating? Lundell, who conducted 5,000 heart surgeries during his time as the chief of staff and chief of surgery at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Ariz., says we need more saturated fats in our diet to prevent inflammation.

READ: Vascular surgeon opts for beef, not statins, to lower cholesterol

He writes, “There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled 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 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.”

READ: Let's urge Congress to stop pushing poor dietary advice

Reading this and knowing one of the first suggestions patients at heart hospitals are given is to reduce their consumption of red meat is very frustrating. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again, I’m a huge proponent of the beef checkoff initiative that provides accurate information to doctors and hospitals about how beef can be a healthy addition to a heart healthy diet.

We must continue to share these positive testimonies to change societal perceptions of beef in the diet. We’ve been indoctrinated for so long to think that a ribeye is an indulgence while a bowl of cereal is a healthy mainstay in the diet, and it should be the complete opposite. Share this blog to help spread the word — beef should be the foundation of a heart healthy diet!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

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