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My Diet and Exercise Recommendations

Diet (circa 2023)

I monitor the latest scientific publications in the controversial and oft-changing world of nutrition. As such, my recommendations have changed over time. Most of the dietary information in the latest headlines should be ignored as it is likely to be reversed in short order.

I gave a talk to the Saint Louis University cardiology fellows which summarizes my current viewpoint and is available to view at my fairly recent post on The Optimal Diet For Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. Using the search function on my website will give you my latest observations on everything from coconut to fish. Conversely google “skeptical cardiologist” plus your food or disease of interest and within a second my enlightening posts should appear magically on your screen.

The information sheet I give my patients on diet can be viewed below. This was updated last in 2018 and I agree with most of what is in it as I write in 2023.

In 2016 I had hope that very low carb diets would prove to be the key to weight management and diabetes for most individuals. I no longer believe that although I am very happy to work with and support patients who have found keto diets effective in the management of their obesity.

I have also looked closely at fasting and intermittent fasting as an aid for weight loss. These methods are not a panacea by themselves but again, work for some. Clearly, you should always feel free to skip breakfast despite the unsubstantiated advice that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

In 2016, the verdict was still out on whether omega-3 (fish oil) supplements are beneficial. In 2022, we know for sure that OTC fish oil supplements are a waste of time and money for preventing cardiovascular disease. In high doses they increase your risk of atrial fibrillation. The major study supporting pharmaceutical grade EPA was shown to be so flawed as to make the findings highly suspect. The value of high omega-3 levels calls into question the need to recommend fish consumption in general.

My contrarian viewpoint on eggs and dairy fat has been solidified in the last 10 years. They are not a concern for cardiovascular disease.

The evidence supporting cardiovascular benefits of moderate alcohol consumption has been challenged and increasingly we see headlines suggesting that any alcohol consumption increases our risk of cancer and heart disease.

My only recommendation to patients about alcohol is that if you have atrial fibrillation and want to reduce how often it happens you should reduce or eliminate alcohol. Those patients with a cardiomyopathy related to alcohol should obviously not drink as well. If you are overweight, your alcohol consumption represents low-hanging fruit to assist in getting rid of excess pounds.

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Dr. Pearson’s Exercise Recommendations

I’ve written extensively on the benefits of regular cardio and resistance exercise. It is something I try to explore with every patient I see.

This the information sheet I give my patients

dr-ps-exercise-recommendations-122016

CDC recommendations for exercise (Physical Activity for Everyone- Guidelines- Adults | DNPAO | CDC

Skeptically Yours,

ACP

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