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Heart Attacks and Strokes Caused by Full Fat Cells

A diet of fruits, vegetables and nuts lowers the bad LDL cholesterol in two weeks by 33 percent, far more than the same diet with added grains and low fat diary (23 percent), and even more than by the National Cholesterol Therapeutic Step-2 diet recommended by doctors for people with high cholesterol (7 percent). Even more important, the ratios of LDL/HDL cholesterol are reduced by 24 percent, 12 percent, and 5 percent respectively (Epidemiology, March 2006).

This study by David Jenkins and many other studies show that the most effective way to lower high cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent heart attacks and prolong life is to avoid taking in more calories than you burn. Limiting food intake to just fruits, vegetables and nuts makes it very difficult to meet your needs for calories. You have to eat all day long to get enough calories just to maintain your weight. This diet is almost the same as what human ancestors ate four to seven million years ago before they split off in development from apes, who eat almost the same way in the wild today.

Further evidence that extra calories cause heart attacks comes from the fact that reducing your intake of calories by one third and eating nothing but fatty meats and diary products will cause your blood cholesterol level to go down (European Heart Journal Supplements, 1999;1(S):S19-S23). Saturated fats are broken down in your liver to two-carbon acetyl units. If you take in more calories than you need, the acetyl units are used as building blocks to make cholesterol and your blood cholesterol level rises. On the other hand, if you are not taking in extra calories, the acetyl units are burned for energy and do not raise cholesterol.

The fruit-vegetable-nut diet is extremely low in significant amounts of starch because humans did not eat large amounts of grains until the agricultural revolution about 10,000 years ago. By adding whole grains and animal products to the fruit-vegetable- nut diet, humans suddenly increased their caloric intake dramatically. Their bodies were used to trying to get every calorie they could possibly get from the food that they eat. Now they could get all the calories they needed. As long as they were very active physically, they could compensate for the extra calories that they could take in and use. However, as soon as humans stop being physically active, they start to store extra calories as fat and it is the extra fat that causes much of modern day disease.

Adding low-fat dairy products, whole grains and dried beans to a fruit-vegetable-nut diet creates a diet that is low in saturated fat and low in cholesterol. This is the basis of the therapeutic diets recommended by most physicians to help prevent heart attacks today, yet these diets are significantly less effective than the fruit-vegetable-nut diet that forces severe calorie restriction.

The most unhealthful diet is one that allows you to take in more calories than you need *so you store more fat in your muscles, *fat in cells blocks insulin receptors, *your cells stop responding to insulin, *your blood sugar rises, *sugar sticks to cell membranes to damage cells and cause *diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, cancers, and premature death.

If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, try limiting your diet to fruits, vegetables and nuts for just two weeks. It is likely that your cholesterol and blood pressure will drop significantly in that short time, and you will have identified the source of your problem.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can living in a home formerly inhabited by smokers harm my health?

Yes! Nicotine can pass again into the air months after first being deposited on furniture, walls, and carpeting (Environmental Science & Technology. January 2011). Therefore, living in a home previously inhabited by smokers can increase cancer risk (third-hand smoke).

Nicotine was poured on cellulose, paper and cotton which were then exposed to ozone under dry and humid conditions. (Moist air inhibits the passage of nicotine into the air.) The nicotine then easily passed to anything that touched it. It also became airborne to form extremely small particles that can be easily inhaled and pass into the lungs where it can cause cancer and asthma. Many other studies show that nicotine on surfaces can rub off onto skin or pass into food.

Extensive data show that smoking (first-hand smoke) and being around smokers (second-hand smoke) are dangerous. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) damage DNA to cause cancer after they are converted to more potent forms. PAH was added to cigarettes and it took only 15 and 30 minutes after smoking for the PAH to be converted to the more potent cancer- causing forms (Chemical Research in Toxicology, January 5, 2011).

More than 600,000 non-smokers worldwide die each year because of exposure to second-hand smoke (The Lancet, January 6, 2011). This data show that living in houses formerly inhabited by smokers (third-hand smoke) can also increase your risk for cancer and lung disease.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can taking pain medicine for arthritis cause a heart attack?

A review of 31 clinical trials involving more than 116,000 people shows that daily and prolonged use over many years of common pain killers increases risk of death from stroke or heart attack by two to four times (British Medical Journal, January 11, 2011). The authors found that Naproxen appears the least harmful, while Ibuprofen (Advil) was associated with the highest stroke risk with diclofenac the second highest. Vioxx and Prexige were linked to twice the risk of a heart attack compared with placebo. The studies evaluated Pfizer's Celebrex, Merck's Vioxx and experimental etoricoxib, and Novartis's Prexige, ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac.

Those who take these medications occasionally are not at significantly increased risk. People over sixty with chronic musculoskeletal pain have a one percent risk of heart attack or stroke in one year, and when they take nonsteroidal pain medications daily, the risk is two to four percent.

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Recipe of the Week:

Fruity-Nutty Salad

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

January 23rd, 2011
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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