Hopefully in 2014 the skeptical cardiologist crushed a few myths about cardiology. Here are what I consider the most important topics I covered last year:
1. Eating Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat or Cause Heart Disease.
It has taken decades to overcome the damage done by nutritional guidelines that advocated substituting carbohydrates for fat. Slowly but surely it appears that nutritional authorities are recognizing that:
-You can lose weight on high fat diets
-There is no good evidence that lowering fat or saturated fat in the diet reduces cardiovascular disease
2. Added Sugar is the Major Toxin in Our Diets
Decades of flawed nutritional advice convinced the public that they could eat whatever they wanted as long as it was low in fat.
This resulted in “heart-healthy” products loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other added sugars.
Eliminating these added sugars from your diet is the single best dietary move you can make.
3. Supplements/ Vitamins/Fish Oil do not prevent heart disease
Americans spend billions of dollars on useless “natural” supplements, vitamins, minerals, herbs, nutraceuticals and fish oil.
No vitamin or mineral has been shown to reduce heart disease (see here)
There is no benefit to taking multivitamins ( see here and here)
Taking a fish oil supplement does not prevent heart disease (or dementia, bad skin, or arthritis for that matter)
4. Routine cardiovascular screening tests like ECGS and echocardiograms can cause more harm than good
5. Direct screening for atherosclerosis can help identify those at higher or lower risk for heart attack, stroke or sudden death
Consider having a carotid ultrasound (to identify early atherosclerotic plaque) or a coronary calcium score done if you have a strong family history of premature cardiovascular disease
6. Dietary cholesterol does not need to be restricted to prevent heart disease.
Eat all the shellfish and cioppino you want
Enjoy your eggs, yolks and all.
7. Dairy fat is good for your heart.
This is the topic that launched this blog and the one I have written most extensively about.
It started when I tried to convince the significant other of the skeptical cardiologist (SOSC) that she should not put butter on her croissant. I was not able to find scientific evidence to support my recommendation to avoid full fat dairy.
Instead I found that
- Drinking full fat milk lowers your risk of heart disease
- Yogurt should be consumed in its full fat form. Non or low fat yogurt is usually full of added sugar.
- Cheese in its real, unprocessed and full fat forms is very heart healthy
- Smoothies, widely perceived as healthy are made unhealthy by removing the natural dairy fat and adding sugars.
Two years after starting the blog I am now happily putting butter on croissants and consuming them without guilt along with the (now) fiancé of the skeptical cardiologist (F0SC).
Next week she and I will be back in St. John doing further research on the cardiac effects of snorkeling and rum-based drinks.
My very best wishes for all of you in 2015!