Saturday, August 18, 2007

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

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' 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 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: , , , , , , ,


Blogger Gary J said...

The other night I was listening to Coast to Coast AM in the middle of the night. That night it was featuring as guest none other than vegan Dr.Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who pushes veganism and knocks animal protein and any form of fat. The stuff that came out of his mouth was so specious that I had to turn it off, I couldn't listen to it, even as stupid infotainment. Among other claims: that with every ingestion of animal protein, you lose kidney function.

8/18/2007 3:46 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

He's a hard one to take seriously, Gary! I've heard him before and had the same reaction. The thing about people like Barnard is they are so extreme that nobody really takes them seriously anymore. And he doesn't even know it!

8/18/2007 3:48 PM  
Blogger Gary J said...

p.s. Reporting in today. 211-219-222-224. This is a ten-year low, Jimmy. With this scale, I'm not sure exactly what my weight is, but I think I'm soon going to overtake your 220 mark, one way or the other. - Cecil B. Tortoise

8/18/2007 3:49 PM  
Blogger Gary J said...

Re Barnard and being taken seriously... maybe, but imagine the audience he gets on a show like that. Lots of innocent, unknowledgeable listeners. Not good!

8/18/2007 3:50 PM  
Blogger Gary J said...

Imagine that this guy even knocks olive oil! Use fat-free salad dressings!

8/18/2007 3:51 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Well, we are talking about a radio show that highlights conspiracy theories and space aliens, so...

Who takes any of THEM seriously? :)

8/18/2007 3:52 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Keep at the weight loss, Gary! I'm feeling good right now, so that's all that matters to me. :)

8/18/2007 3:53 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

All that sugar they put in "fat-free" dressings, too! EWWWW!

Speaking of "low-fat," Christine and I were in Denny's the other day and noticed they had a menu item called a "Slim Slam" which was supposedly their "healthy" breakfast offering.

Wanna know what it was?

- 2 eggs
- 1 slice of honey ham
- 2 pancakes w/ your choice of Apple, Cherry, or Blueberry goop topping

Hmmm, aside from the eggs and ham, what's so freakin' "healthy" about that sugary, carb-loaded pancake dessert thingamajig?

Oh, that's right--IT'S GOT LESS THAN 15 GRAMS OF FAT! Silly me, how could I have missed that? Of course that means it MUST be "healthy!"


8/18/2007 3:57 PM  
Blogger Gary J said...

I'm glad you're feeling good, Jimmy. My intent is not to goad you, just to be a friendly tease. You do what is right for you. I'll admit to you anyway that my loss over the past weeks is not so much from strict low carb but from periodic anxiety and the resulting lack of appetite - which I'll use to my advantage. In the meantime, I'll work to get rid of the anxiety because it's not fun!

And yes, we are talking about a show that talks about space aliens. I only listen to it because I need a new radio and antenna, I can't get anything else for the moment and I want to listen to something besides news.

Denny's Slim Slam sounds like it's the answer to McDonald's McGriddle sandwiches - you know - the ones where you don't have to choose between eggs and bacon and bread - or pancakes - they use pancakes for the bread, so you need syrup for it too. Gosh, the U.S. is in such a sad state of affairs nowadays.

8/18/2007 4:06 PM  
Blogger Gary J said...

Also remember, I have a lot farther to go before I'm at your weight equivalent. My goal is somewhere around 150-180 (I'll have to see when I get to 180). I'm now around the 220 mark, down from 262.

Your goal is 198. You are at the 220 mark, down from 410. You are close to goal, if not there. We don't know how much that extra skin tissue around your waist weighs either. I'm not giving you excuses, it's just an accurate assessment.

8/18/2007 4:08 PM  
Blogger mrfritznyc said...

what about space aliens? i saw a UFO myself a few weeks ago. really, no kidding around, I really did, along with several neighbors.

anyway, I seem to remember this heart scan blog guy still believes that saturated fat is bad... so he isnt a completely on our side.

heart scanning is interesting stuff tho. seems like it has the potential to disprove a lot of the cholesterol nonsense everyone believes. someday maybe.

8/18/2007 4:52 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Millions have seen UFO's, mr. Fritz, even some presidents and other authorities, and even yours truly. I even have pictures. Very interesting topic. Did you know, for example, that some of the largest and most costly scientific studies ever conducted were for this very topic? And that the public (and those that should know about these studies - like most scientists) are completely unaware of them? Nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman is an excellent source of reliable quality information about this topic, if you are interested.

Anyway, back to the thread: it's good to see that more and more respected professionals have the guts to speak out against all the disinformation and dietary delusions out there. We need more people like this, the more the better - and the noisier they get the better too. LOUD and CLEAR is the only message the media understands. That's why those that are most vocal get the most attention and (free) coverage.
The late great dr. Atkins was a cardiologist by training too, by the way. He sure knew what was good for the heart.

8/20/2007 7:05 AM  
Blogger renegadediabetic said...

Dr. Davis has a great blog. Sure, he's still in the sat-fat phobia camp and lumps sat fat with hydrogenated fat, but full enlightenment takes time. He's on the right track.

As for Dr. Barnard, some do take him seriously. He did the study that claims the low fat vegan diet is good for diabetes. Regina Wilshire analyzed the data. She found that, while his vegan diet outperformed the ADA diet, neither diet acheived the ADA target of A1C < 7%.

He also got an article in Diabetes Health:

The series of articles did include one about low carb and Diabetes Health is generally low carb friendly.

I was browsing through the book store the other day and saw his new book on the shelf, "Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes."

I'll take my low carb A1C < 6% over his vegan A1C > 7% any day.

8/20/2007 2:22 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home