Asmall but benign group of doctors is challenging the nutritional and medical orthodoxy around high-fat diets, sugar, carbohydrates and calories. This article from The New York Times includes an unconventional cardiologist that includes a high-fat diet at heart-health advice.
Dr. Aseem Malhotra enjoys butter in his coffee and advocates for saturated fat as a portion of a heart-healthy diet.
Every morning, British cardiologist Malhotra stirs one tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of coconut oil into his coffee.
While it might not sound appetizing, the mixture — also known as “bulletproof coffee” — is popular among people who follow high-fat meals and modeled following yak-butter beverages consumed in Tibet for centuries. The mix, states Malhotra, gives him energy and “keeps me fairly full.”
There aren’t a lot of cardiologists who embrace butter and coconut oil as foods. However, Malhotra rejects the decades-old mantra that eating foods rich in saturated fat causes heart ailments, and he’s been directing a campaign to change public opinion about sugar, fats and what makes a wholesome diet.
“As part of a heart-healthy, I counsel my cardiac patients to enjoy full-fat cheese, together with olive oil and veggies,” says Malhotra, who frequently indulges in grass-fed meat and also three-egg omelets, additionally included. “You need to see the look on their faces when I tell them”
Malhotra, that operates with Britain’s National Health Service, is one of a small but increasingly vocal group of doctors in the United States and Britain that are challenging the nutritional and medical orthodoxy around fat, calories and carbohydrates. He has become a fixture on social networking and on television programs from Britain, thanks to a set of contentious papers he published in clinical journals asserting that saturated fat, especially from milk, may be protective against heart disease, that sugar can be “public health enemy No. 1p from the Western diet, and that the dangers of high cholesterol have been overstated.
Last May as a member of the National Obesity Forum, a nonprofit group, he helped compose a widely publicized report that criticized the British government’s dietary guidance to steer clear of saturated fat and eat low-fat foods. And in a country famous for its sweet tooth, Dr. Malhotra is outspoken about the injuries of excess sugar.
His critics–of that there are many–have pushed. Public Health England, the agency that issues the country’s dietary guidelines, stated the obesity forum that Malhotra helped author was “irresponsible and misleads the public”
Dr. Neil Poulter, a professor of preventive cardiovascular medicine at Imperial College in London,
Condemned Malhotra of “cherry picking” information and misinterpreting research. And he said that he was wrong to encourage people to consume saturated fat because it raises LDL cholesterol, that correlates with heart disease.
“Decades of research are consistent in showing that, LDL is critical and that by decreasing LDL, you decrease cardiovascular disease,” Poulter said.
However, Malhotra points to study like a significant study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine at 2014 that found no connection between saturated fat intake and coronary heart disease. In January, a major American cardiovascular expert, Dr. Steven E. Nissen, printed an editorial criticizing the US Dietary Guidelines for urging people to cut back their saturated-fat and cholesterol consumption without enough evidence from rigorous clinical trials.
While it is a fact that some recognized doctors and scientists have been calling for more study on the impact of saturated fat, so that doesn’t mean they endorse Malhotra’s promotion of high-fat diets either.
“I do not think he’s a proven track record in the science of nutrition and heart disease,” said Nissen, who doesn’t understand Malhotra. “However, I really do wish we had more stringent evidence to affirm or refute the claim that saturated fat and cholesterol are associated with heart disease, since I do not think it’s clear.”
With a knack for controversy, Malhotra has pushed on. In the past year he’s also taken aim in statins, the most frequently prescribed drugs in the world, asserting in academic newspapers and about a number of Britain’s leading news programs that the cholesterol-lowering medications are overused.
While the drugs may be lifesaving in people who have proven heart disease, Malhotra states, people at low risk would be better off adopting a Mediterranean diet because the huge majority of cardiovascular disease is attributable to lifestyle factors like smoking and inadequate diet.
“I educate my heart patients who adopting a Mediterranean diet after having a heart attack is actually stronger than aspirin, statins and even heart stents,” he states. “I am not saying that these treatments are not beneficial–they are. However, the lifestyle changes are stronger, and with no side effects”
As evidence, he frequently describes some landmark clinical trial published at The New England Journal of Medicine at 2013, which discovered that heart attacks, strokes and deaths from cardiovascular disease plummeted in high risk patients assigned to follow a Mediterranean diet with large quantities of fat from nuts and olive oil.
To assist spread his food-is-medicine message, a notion Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, initially promoted centuries ago, Malhotra maintained a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a documentary called The Big Fat Repair, that follows him as he visits the Campania region of Italy to explore the Mediterranean diet’s well-documented health advantages. He explained crowd-sourced the funding of the movie to avoid conflicts of interest, and he and his co-star made the movie themselves and released it online.
Malhotra and his costar, Donal O’Neill, a filmmaker and former professional athlete, argue from the movie that the Mediterranean diet has been widely mischaracterized. While it features plenty of fish, fish, olive oil, nuts and red wine, additionally, it has lots of red meat, meat and other resources of saturated fat. Malhotra contends that the traditional diet is also quite low in sugar, a fact that he states is frequently overlooked. “The natives there eat no processed foods,” he said.
In the movie, Malhotra also makes a situation that the people of the region owe their remarkable longevity to a Mediterranean way of life, that prioritizes social engagement, pressure reduction and proper sleep, movement and flexibility.
Dr. Rita Redberg, a cardiologist and professor in the University of California, San Francisco, medical college, said that she chased Malhotra and his film’s emphasis on prioritizing lifestyle prior to medication. She said that, too frequently, folks rely on pills within an antidote to other behaviors and diet.
“I feel a great deal of people feel that they can eat whatever they want and just take a statin and not have to be concerned about exercise,” she said.
Dr. Malhotra explained that although his work challenging the conventional wisdom has been contentious, he plans to do more about it. He reproduces a quote from the South African surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard, who performed the world’s first heart-transplant procedure and afterwards became a champion for heart-disease prevention through proper nutrition and lifestyle modifications.
“If I had concentrated on heart-disease prevention,” Barnard after said, “instead of saving the lives of 150 people, I could have saved the lives of 150 million”