Foods for a Healthy Heart

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Ask The Guyatitian
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Just in time to round out Healthy Heart month, here’s a video I did with the folks at the International Food Information Council on foods for a healthy heart. Enjoy!

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by davidgrotto, Annelies at Attune . Annelies at Attune said: RT @davidgrotto: Foods for a Healthy Heart […]

  2. Judy says:

    I must say my jaw dropped when he mentioned margarine, soy, and canola oil as heart healthy…this video will not be helpful to anyone, if anything it will only compromise one’s heart and overall health, based on outdated, bad information still circulating.

    My husband had a mild heart attack 6 months ago, we now eat only coconut oil, butter, and olive oil. His cholesterol has never been better and his lipid panel is fantastic. He eliminated commercial bread products (yes, even whole grain) and commercial salad dressings because of the rancid, bad oils they are made with (primarily canola, soy) and increased vegetables. Also, we have focused on reducing inflammation, which is the underlying problem causing heart disease, rather than reducing overall cholesterol.

    Please take a closer look at available information out there about heart disease–this is a dangerous video to promote, though I do understand it is closer to mainstream philosophy, similar to the advice to avoid eating eggs was years ago–there is better, more healthful information to follow. Check out CRP, homocysteine, and LP(a) tests and treatment information, you will be doing your subscribers a favor.

    • guyatitian says:

      Hi Judy:

      First of all, I appreciate you taking the time to submit your comments and am also thrilled your husband is doing better. Heart disease is a scary thing and thankfully your husband survived his heart attack.

      As you may already know, as it seems you’ve already done a bit of research, over 80 million adults have heart disease and many don’t even know it. I’m glad you both are being proactive in reducing his risk of a second heart attack by managing his lipids and inflammatory markers. This is vital as approximately 22 percent of men and 46 percent of women will develop heart failure within six years of having their first heart attack. But the good news is with proper diet and exercise, the risk for a second heart attack and future heart failure can be minimized.

      I’m somewhat surprised to hear that “your jaw dropped” when I mentioned that omega-3 rich oils such as soy and canola were heart healthy. I’d be happy to direct you to the abundance of scientific literature that supports that. Soft margarines, especially ones fortified with plant sterol esters have been shown in clinical studies to be quite effective in reducing cholesterol.

      One thing we are in agreement about is that cholesterol is not the only concern when it comes to heart disease. The environment that causes damage to artery walls in the first place is of greater concern. High blood pressure, inactivity, obesity, stress, poor sleep, and a poor diet laden with empty calories, poor quality fats and devoid of nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains (though you say your husband avoided whole grains in spite of over 40 clinical studies alone on oats show a cholesterol lowering effect. I lowered my own cholesterol by over 70 points by adding more soluble fiber-rich grains in my diet such as oats) and heart-healthy fats is a recipe for heart disease. Heart disease IS an inflammatory disease and it is important to consume an antioxidant-rich diet with plenty of mono and polyunsaturated fats, NOT saturated fats.

      The recent release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans supports limiting “solid fats” such as butter and fatty meats. However, the current scientific literature has not done a good job in convincing me either way as to coconut oil’s role in either contributing to heart disease or protecting from it when added to the diet. The same could be said of egg consumption – there simply isn’t sufficient solid human data that shows that eggs should be avoided or even limited in the diet when it comes to protecting from heart disease. But I do think it is wise to limit, not avoid, solid fats like butter and other animal fats.

      I used to supervise a heart disease reversal program based on Dean Ornish, MD’s research and saw many young men and women with “normal” cholesterol who had blocked arteries. I certainly could have discussed the importance of the role of inflammatory markers but there was simply not enough time. Admittedly, the video is quite lengthy and certainly doesn’t cover all there is to be said about fighting heart disease. Personally, I think people get tired of watching a video beyond 2-3 minutes max.

      Lastly, I have taken a very good look at the scientific literature and stand behind everything that was said in the video. I wish you and your husband all the best on your journey to good health, whatever that path may be!

      All the best,


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