Thanks for asking for my opinion on this article. The things he says are scientifically accurate but the way he presents them is a little misleading.
He’s making a few different points. The first is that he seems to be saying that atherosclerosis (damage to artery walls and the subsequent plaque formation, followed by thickening, narrowing and possibly blockage of the artery walls) is caused by inflammation and that this inflammation is entirely due to a low fat, high carbohydrate diet. This is only partly true. Atherosclerosis (think thickening of the arteries, stroke and heart attacks) does begin with inflammation in the vessel wall. This is the first step of the process. The inflammation isn’t caused by just one thing, however. In fact the top FIVE things that put your arteries most at risk for developing plaques are: smoking, high LDL-cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. I think what needs to be clarified is that in the past there was a lot of attention placed on high levels of LDL-cholesterol in the blood. This was for a good reason. If you had terrible cholesterol levels, you were far more likely to have terrible arteries. The correlation was obvious. This led to the origin of the low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and statin drugs (cholesterol lowering drugs). The problem is that now we know there are other players on the team. If you eat a low fat diet that is very high in sugar you are very likely to struggle with obesity and diabetes. These guys play for the same team. The article mentions some of the ways they contribute.
He gets into some complicated terminology that I don’t feel is helpful because most people don’t know for example what cytokines are. He does try to explain how too much sugar in the blood actually changes the chemical makeup of the things it comes into contact with, but I just think it’s too much detail. Here’s the bottom line if you want to reduce inflammation caused by these 5 players: Don’t smoke. Smoking kills you. After you quit smoking, eat good food. Eat real fruits, real vegetables, real meat and real oils. As far as grains go, if you have no sensitivities to them, then eat grains that still look like grains after you cook them. For example, I’ve never met a pasta that looks like a grain before OR after it was cooked. Mostly pasta looks like worms and sea-shells.
I know he says a low fat diet is not the answer, but I am telling you that a high-fat diet is not the answer either. A high fat diet will lead to obesity and diabetes. Eat fats in moderation and use real oils. He suggests olive oil. Olive oil is fine. A little animal fat or coconut oil is fine too, but we are talking small amounts. Here’s all you need to know about the omega 6 vs. omega 3 fatty acid ratio – if you are only eating real food, you don’t have to worry about it. (Over the years, I sometimes feel like I have repeated myself). High blood pressure is also a major player on this inflammatory team so try to eliminate stress from your life. Slow down. Breathe deeply.
As for statin drugs and blood pressure medication, there is a time and place for these and the person who is best suited to address these in the right context is your doctor. I suggest encouraging your loved ones to tackle the lifestyle issues before the medication becomes an issue.
I hope this helps!!!
For reference, here is the link to the original article: