By Wayne Parsons
The World Health Organization lists coronary heart disease (CHD) as the leading cause of death in the world. 80 percent of all deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes. The United States leads the world with 735,000 people projected to have a heart attack this year. More than 200,000 people in Great Britain will be in the hospital each year with a heart attack. These people are treated exclusively with heart medications and surgery which do nothing to cure the underlying disease and only slow its progress.
In a study of 246,000 Chinese men in rural Guizhou and 181,000 Chinese women in Sichuan between 1973 and 1975 not one single person died CHD before the age of 64. Epidemiologist T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study (2006) found that when those people moved to the US and adopted a US diet, their incidence of CHD went up to the US numbers. Diet, not genetics is the cause of CHD. Is there anything other than heart drugs and surgery for CHD?
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic put 18 patients with severe CHD on a whole foods plant-based (WFPB) diet. In the prior eight years, those 18 patients had suffered 49 coronary events such as angina, bypass surgery, heart attacks, strokes and angioplasty. The WFPB diet over the ensuing 11 years reversed their CHD. Cholesterol dropped from averages of 246 mg/dL to 132 mg/dL over the 11-year study and bad LDL cholesterol dropped in the same percentage. There was only one coronary event (angina) in the 11 years for a patient who dropped out for two years, had an episode of angina, resumed the diet plan and had no further incidents. The restricted arteries of these patients opened up allowing a measured increase in blood flow of 30 percent. The cure for CHD is a WFPB diet, not drugs or surgery. Added bonus: it’s free. This result threatened the meat, dairy and pharmaceutical industries as well as doctors and hospitals—a collective group that exerts powerful political influence. A lot of money is at stake here.
What is a WFPB diet? “Whole foods” means grains, fruits and vegetables that have not been highly processed. Our bodies are designed to digest whole foods that contain complex carbohydrates, which our bodies break down during digestion—naturally extracting all of the nutrition that the body needs in the form that the body can use. Pills and supplements don’t work. Whole foods like beans, corn, fruit and leafy green vegetables are also high in fiber. The healthy rural Chinese people that Dr. Campbell studied also consumed high-fiber plant-based diets.
WFPB diets also eliminate meat, poultry, and fish. Dairy products are animal products and are not part of such diets, either. In a WFPB diet, plenty of protein can be obtained from plant sources without meat or dairy. Fad high-protein, low carbohydrate diets are unhealthy—a person should only get about 10 percent of their daily calorie intake from protein. This can easily be accomplished with grains and vegetables that are also high in fiber and low in fat. The only addition is a vitamin B12 tablet once a day. The natural oils in plants provide the fat a person needs in a healthy form that our digestive system is designed to digest.
What about cancer? Dr. Campbell found that changing the amount of the casein, a protein that makes up 87 percent of cow’s milk, lowered or increased tumor growth in rats whose tumors were caused by the powerful carcinogen aflatoxin. Lower the casein and the tumor growth slowed, increase casein and it rises. Replacing casein with proteins from wheat or soy did not trigger tumor growth even when the amount of aflatoxin was increased. Thus, diet creates conditions in our bodies at the cellular level where cancer genes are activated and cancer flourishes. WFPB diets do not do this.
This does not mean that if a person is diagnosed with cancer, they should try to use diet in place of surgery or cancer drugs. Do not think that once cancer has been activated it can be cured alone by diet and do not fall victim to fad cancer diets or “holistic” cures. Cancer patients must be treated by a good oncologist. However, a WFPB diet promotes lifetime health while avoiding CHD, type 2 diabetes and other illnesses—not to mention greatly reducing the chances of cancer. Few smokers diagnosed with lung cancer continue smoking. Most wish they gave it up before it was too late. WFPB diets are not for everyone, but you should take a look at those people with CHD or type 2 diabetes and ask yourself if the change to a WFPB diet might be a smart decision.
Good resources for understanding the WFPB diet are Chickpea and Bean at www.chickpeanadbean.com, The McDougall Diet at www.drmcdougall.com or Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes found at www.pcrm.org. The China Study should also be on everyone’s bookshelf as a practical scientific reference on the truth about human health.