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Cardiologist Contends Ornish Low-Fat Diet For Reversing Heart Disease Is A 'Scam'

Posted Sep 11 2008 6:18pm 1 Comment

You gotta love a cardiologist with the spunk and tenacity of Dr. William Davis

Special thanks to BamaGal and Regina Wilshire for pointing me to this incredible blog called "The Heart Scan Blog" by Dr. William R. Davis, MD, FACC.

As a cardiologist in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, Dr. Davis says he is "deeply disturbed by the state of affairs in heart disease" nowadays. In fact, he's so troubled by the profit-driven motives of "hospitals, drug companies, medical device companies, and physicians" over the issue of heart disease that he created a brand new blog entitled "Heart Scam" to expose these practices to the world.

In fact, his "Heart Scan Blog" does much the same thing while arming people with what to look out for when heart health claims are made and how to avoid falling into these moneymaking schemes.

It seems the good Dr. Davis has had some experience with the low-fat diet as he detailed in his post from late last month called "The Ornish Diet Made Me Fat." I absolutely love the humor he invokes in sharing what his life was like eating an ultra-low-fat diet in the early 1990s. It brought back some rather painful memories for me.

As you know, I went on a very low-fat diet in 1999 to lose weight and experienced remarkable success at it losing 170 pounds in about 10 months. But on the inside I was screaming bloody murder to get out of this diet. I was literally HUNGRY ALL THE TIME and didn't like the way it made me feel.

Sure, I was skinnier and everyone around me was stunned by the transformation. But I was unable to convince myself that this was a healthy way to eat and live, so I got off of it in a big way! Within four months after ending my low-fat diet experience and rebelling against thinking I had to eat that way for the rest of my life, I gained all that weight back...AND MORE!

I remembered the lesson of that experience well when it came time to start livin' la vida low-carb in 2004. One of the primary reasons I chose this way of eating was my belief that it was something I could do forever and ever amen. Four years later, I'm still eating this way so there must be something to that. This is something Dr. Davis can relate to personally as well as for his patients.

As you will quickly discover, he's no fan of the Dr. Dean Ornish plan for "reversing heart disease." This was something I experienced early and often from Mr. Low-Fat Diet himself during my interview with him last October. Dr. Davis says he is tempted to "roll my eyes" when a patient asks if they should go on the Ornish diet.

Here's what his Ornish diet looked like:

- Consumed less than 10% of his calories as fat
- Eliminated all fish, meats, vegetable oils, and nuts
- Ate vegetables and fruits
- Increased whole grain consumption
- Ornish-recommended recipes
- Running five miles daily
- Avoiding sugary candy and fruit juice

This "healthy" diet is supposed to help improve weight and health so that you never have to worry about heart disease, right? Well, let's see what happened to Dr. Davis:

- Gained 31 pounds
- Developed protruding belly ( this study confirms it happens)
- HDL fell to 28 mg/dl
- Triglycerides vaulted to 336 mg/dl
- LDL cholesterol particle size was the small dangerous kind
- In a strange mental fog by the afternoon
- Constantly tired and cranky
- Sudden surges of anger and frustration over the small stuff
- Needed excessive amounts of coffee to function

Over the years of treating patients, Dr. Davis has seen similar symptoms happen to other Ornish low-fat dieters, too. Recent research suggests the high-carb, low-fat approach is ineffective for people who are insulin resistant, will raise your blood pressure, and could actually lead to breast cancer.

Respected researcher Dr. Jeff Volek from the University of Connecticut asserted in my interview with him last year that the low-fat diet has no positive impact on health apart from weight loss. So what is Dr. Davis' point? While the low-fat diets promoted by Dr. Dean Ornish may have been all the rage 30-40 years ago, it's time to move on to something more efficient and effective for improving health based on all the latest nutritional knowledge we have at our disposal today.

"Few of us wear bell-bottomed jeans, tie-dyed t-shirts, or say 'groovy'...so should go the misadventures of the ultra low-fat diet, as articulated by Dr. Ornish. His day came and went. We learned from our mistakes. Now let's do something better."

We are, Dr. Davis! It's livin' la vida low-carb, baby!

You can e-mail Dr. William Davis to thank him for sharing his perspective about the the use of a low-fat diet on heart disease and health at heartprotection@aol.com. We need more voices like his to stand up for the truth and speak it boldly to those who need to hear it most!

Labels: blog, cardiologist, Dean Ornish, diet, heart disease, Heart Scan Blog, low-fat, William Davis

Comments (1)
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The author of this article, Jimmy M., says he lost 170 lbs (of fat) in 10 months.  That's 0.57 lbs of fat per day.  At 3500 calories per pound of fat, he was burning 1983 calories of fat (his own fat) per day. On a 3500 calorie per day diet, (which ain’t no diet), that's still 56% of his calories from burning his own fatPlus he was getting another 10% fat calories from the Ornish Diet.  Hardly a low fat diet.    How did you get through high school, Bubba??????? 

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