From Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:
Two things are necessary to predictably reverse heart disease: one is to become thin and superbly nourished, and the other is to get your LDL below 100. Reversal of heart disease then occurs. If one expects to diminish atherosclerotic plaque over time and stabilize the plaque so the chance of having a heart attack significantly decreases, I insist that he or she must strive to achieve the following parameters of normalcy:
- The patient must achieve a normal weight or become thin (less than one inch of abdominal fat in women, and less than three-quarters of an inch in men), or be in the process of steadily losing weight toward this goal.
- The patient must achieve normal cholesterol. My definition of normal is an LDL cholesterol below 100 (most authorities are now using this benchmark). Drugs are rarely needed to attain this level when an aggressive nutritional approach is taken.
- The patient's diet must be nutrient-dense. Animal products and detrimental fats must be avoided to prevent the after-meal fat surge.1 Refined carbohydrates should also be avoided to prevent the after-meal glucose surges and to control triglycerides. Homocysteine levels should be normalized, by supplementation with appropriate nutrients if necessary.
- Blood pressure must return to within the normal range, below 130/85, or be slowly improving and moving toward this minimal goal. The normalization of blood pressure as medications are gradually discontinued represents reversal of atherosclerosis and is an important criterion to predict cardiac safety. The person who has removed his cardiac risk no longer requires blood pressure medication to maintain normal blood pressure readings. The vessels have become more elastic through nutritional intervention.
1. Ishikawa, T. 1999. Postprandial lipemia as an atherosclerotic risk factor and fat tolerance test. Nippon Rinsho 57 (12): 2668-72.