Reversing Diets DASH ASSETS: Heightened awareness due to its support by the U.S. government and medical authorities for many years. It is an option for people who aren’t willing to accept more radical, effective changes in their diets. WHAT COULD MAKE IT BETTER? Remove the acceptance of white sugar, cut out the oil, and reduce the permitted and recommended animal products by at least half. Ornish ASSETS: Not just a diet program, but also uses meditation, exercise, and support groups to enhance compliance and perhaps efficacy. It has many years of proven efficacy and significant support from both medical authorities and medical insurance companies.
WHAT COULD MAKE IT BETTER?
A reduction in the permitted amount of nonfat dairy and egg whites and switching those calories for at least 1 ounce of walnuts, chia seed, flaxseeds, or hemp seeds. More caution may be indicated regarding the amount of supplemental DHA-EPA advised. Esselstyn ASSETS: The fact that it is totally vegan (and oil-free) likely offers additional benefits, and it is pure in its simplicity. Compliance and efficacy are enhanced when people have clear limits that are not ambiguous.
It needs a classification of highcarbohydrate plant foods based on glycemic effect and nutrient content to direct participants to the healthiest plant choices. It may be considerably safer if 1 ounce of walnuts and a low-dose DHA-EPA supplement were added. Pritikin ASSETS: It has almost forty years of experience, proven results, and the availability of a health resort that offers a complete getaway package. Being immersed in a resort hotel with a learning program and all food supplied can make it easier for people to learn and adapt to the program.
WHAT COULD MAKE IT BETTER? It should have less-ambiguous recommendations for people with heart disease. It also needs clear-cut supplemental recommendations and clear limits on animal products for the public. Nutritarian (Fuhrman) ASSETS: The attention to nutrient density and the anticancer effects of “superfoods” such as cruciferous greens, onions, and mushrooms adds a degree of dietary refinement, thereby enhancing benefits. WHAT COULD MAKE IT BETTER? Reduce sweet fruits and remove dried fruits for people who are glucose intolerant or diabetic, adjusting the glycemic effect of the diet, as discussed in my book The End of Diabetes. Some critics of my approach also point out that some people may overeat nuts and seeds and therefore consume too many calories (because these foods are calorically dense), inhibiting their weight loss and thus the full potential of cardiovascular disease reversal. This could be a
legitimate concern for those people who have problems with emotional overeating and self-control. But my twenty-five years of clinical experience, with thousands of people adopting this protocol, have demonstrated that individuals who cannot control their consumption of nuts and seeds are relatively rare. We shouldn’t have to restrict, and even hurt, the longevity potential of ninety-nine people for the one person who has trouble following the recommendations to not eat too many nuts and seeds.
The foundation of the Nutritarian approach is to eat when hungry and to not snack between meals. Use seeds and nuts as part ofthe meal, such as in dressings or recipes, and be aware of their caloric density. Obviously, a person can eat too many nuts and seeds and remain overweight because of that, but that wouldbe an example of someone who did not understand or follow this program accurately. That means eating some nuts and seeds, instead of—not in addition to—eating oil and high-glycemic carbs. In other words, eat more greens, more beans, more nuts and seeds, and less high-glycemic foods, such as bread, potatoes, raisins, and dates. The seeds and nuts should take the place of those carbohydrate calories and are not to be eaten in addition to them. The Most Effective Nutritional Programs Are Similar It is easy to see the similarities among the diets with documented cardiovascular benefits. All of them are very cautious with the use of oils because of their caloric density. More olive oil in the diet is associated with more weight gain and obesity.
Even back in 1965, a study demonstrated that heart patients given olive oil and corn oil had a higher risk of heart attack and death rate than the control group with a lower-fat diet.
Modern studies have confirmed that more of these (omega-6) oils in the diet is associated with higher mortality from heart disease. 29 Is there a level of oil that may be permissible and still allow disease reversal to occur to the 90th percentile level? Maybe, but that level likely needs to be very small, such as less than 1 teaspoon a day (40 calories), not likely a tablespoon, as allowed in the standard DASH diet. And if you want more security that reversal will be most effective and offer the most protection, then eliminate all the oils and limit fat exposure to whole foods, such as seeds and walnuts. There should be no controversy that reducing animal products and increasing the amount of natural plant foods in the diet can revolutionize our health-care system, end the expensive and invasive coronary artery treatments of stenting and bypass surgery, and save millions of life years.