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20-Year Low-Carb Dieter Finds Zero Plaque Buildup In Her Arteries

Posted Mar 10 2011 10:49am

The low-carb blogosphere has been ablaze this week after Gary Taubes appeared on The Dr. Oz Show in what many thought was an ambush against healthy low-carb living. In fact, there was one segment where Dr. Oz went on a low-carb diet for 24 hours (we won’t even talk about how idiotic that is right now, but I’ll be doing a response video to that entire boondoggle soon) and he made an illustration with the food he was eating for a snack. Using pepperoni slices and string cheese, he said “Here’s how I see it, that’s my artery” referring to the curled slice of pepperoni followed by him referring to the string cheese going through the hole in the pepperoni stating “and this is the plaque.” After a smug smacking of the side of his cheek, he concludes, “That’s how I envision it” which is met with raucous laughter from The Dr. Oz Show audience. Really? Is this same old tired, worn out argument against livin’ la vida low-carb still being used by seemingly intelligent medical professionals like Dr. Mehmet Oz? Unfortunately so. But is it true? Do low-carb diets simply cause more harm than good by consuming foods that are higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates? Let’s look at the story of one of my readers who has been eating low-carb for the past 20 years and recently had a sophisticated test conducted to see what kind of damage her high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb way of eating has had on her body.

She e-mailed me that she recently had a wellness exam after recommitting herself to a “clean” low-carb lifestyle again starting in May 2010 and she discovered that her cholesterol was slightly higher (36 points up) than normal. However, instead of medication, she was put on a high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplement. Now that’s pretty amazing in this day and age of handing out statin drugs like they’re candy, but the “best news” is what happened next. At the same time they checked her cholesterol, she had an arterial ultrasound test called Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) done as well. It’s a sophisticated test where they use a doppler to capture images of the carotid, femoral, and abdominal arteries to see if there is any plaque buildup to be concerned with. Plaque that penetrates the arterial wall can lead to a condition known as atheroschlerosis where the arteries harden and become blocked which can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke. Dr. Oz was certainly insinuating on his show that eating a diet that consists of fat and very few carbohydrates would lead to this, but check out what happened next when my reader got her results.

The nurse practitioner called me and told me that my results were some of the best she had ever seen! My actual age is 43, but my arteries measured that of a 25 year old!

WOW! When she received these astonishing results from the nurse, my reader revealed to her what she had been doing–the healthy low-carb lifestyle! The nurse then “acted a little surprised” and was “offended” that my reader didn’t tell her about what she was doing sooner. When asked whether she lost any weight eating this way, my reader said she had shed over 30 pounds since May 2010 and that low-carb living makes her “feel better, look better, and act better” than anything else she’s ever tried.

It is just the way I have to eat for the rest of my life.

Obviously, she is super-stoked about the results of her CIMT test and now has a newfound confidence that livin’ la vida low-carb is “not harming my body at all.”

My liver and kidney functions were fine, as well as all of the rest of the blood work.

And although her cholesterol is slightly elevated, we know that most of those tests tend to focus on LDL and total cholesterol rather than the triglyceride/HDL ratio which is a much better indicator of heart health risk than what is typically measured. I have long challenged anyone to prove to me that “high” cholesterol is unhealthy . There’s just no solid evidence that exists substantiating this oft-repeated but never proven claim. Even worse, most doctors seem to be so clueless about cholesterol except to pull out their prescription pad to write down Lipitor or Crestor for their none-the-wiser patients. Why does a non-medically trained layperson like myself seem to know more about lipid health than a cardiologist like Dr. Oz? Maybe he likes the money he makes cutting into people’s chests (as he bragged so much about in the Taubes interview) while simultaneously taking sponsorship from advertisers who create products that are the real culprit in cardiovascular disease, namely high-carb, grain-based cereals.

This is one reason why Gary Taubes refused to have his cholesterol numbers run on his appearance on The Dr. Oz Show on Monday because the numbers are meaningless without the proper context. It was a setup that he refused to participate in knowing he wouldn’t have an opportunity to properly explain the importance of measuring LDL particle size with an NMR LipoProfile test, for example . In fact, Taubes told me that he was able to share about this distinction with LDL cholesterol but the producers cut it out of the final version of the segment. Gee, what a surprise! Look for a blog post about this from Gary at his blog coming soon.

As for the fabulous results my reader experienced after being on a low-carb diet for the past 20 years, all I can say is WAY TO GO! While people like Dr. Oz may not think someone can live long-term on a diet consisting of meats, eggs, cheese, green vegetables, butter, and the rest of the incredible foods we enjoy eating on this healthy lifestyle change, you’re proving that’s just not the case. Not only are you doing it, but your health is better than it ever would have been eating any other way. Congratulations to you for choosing low-carb as your preferred nutritional plan and for inspiring us all in our own low-carb journey to be confident and proud of the way livin’ la vida low-carb is improving our health on a daily basis!

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