Disease Proof

Research Questions Traditional Heart-Risk Assessments

Two new studies, one in the American Journal of Roentgenology and the other in the British Medical Journal, cast doubt on the long-established Framingham Risk Score for evaluating cardiovascular disease. The Framingham score assesses risk based on age, gender, total blood cholesterol, HDL, smoking, blood pressure and taking blood pressure medication. The first study did not accurately predict risk for a group of 1,653 people with no history of heart disease and the second revealed the Framingham score did no better than chance in predicting the 108 deaths; HealthDay News reports.

Okay, I admit, this report made me woozy, way over my head! So I asked Dr. Fuhrman about it. Here’s what he had to say:

Medical studies are clouded when they only look at the symptoms of unhealthy behavior such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These easily measurable numbers correlate with unhealthful lifestyle and diet-style, but they could reflect past habits, not present ones, plus they are not the sole cause of heart attacks.

These numbers do not incorporate other more critical factors such as diet-style and exercise tolerance and body weight. So if one person had higher cholesterol but was eating significantly healthier and exercising more, they might be at significantly lower risk than a person with a lower cholesterol and blood pressure, but with more intravascular and cellular oxidative stress from their low nutrient diet.

Hopefully that clears it up for you. Now, in other heart-related news, a recent report showed even a little extra belly fat can increase cardiovascular risk. And, in attempt to curb his own heart troubles and those of his city, Chicago’s health commissioner is encouraging everyone to go vegetarian!

Like Dr. Fuhrman says, a vegetable-based diet is the best way to aggressively reverse heart disease!

Image credit: Gare and Kitty

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Matt Stone - January 19, 2009 12:23 PM

The following forum entry on getting rid of belly fat is very typical, and having lived in Maui where my demographic (30 and white) was predominantly vegetarian or vegan, I know that the emaciated body with a swollen, fat belly is all too common. I know because my body was exactly like that as a vegetarian. I now have a 6-pack with no exercise, and wear a smaller pant-size than I did my Freshman year of high school. I am never hungry, have no cravings or food addictions - a far cry from where I was at years ago. I eat well over 3,000 calories per day.

"Belly Fat
I'm vegan and I have always had a high metabolism. I'm slim, but everything goes to my stomach. If I suck in my stomach, it's not noticable, but I eat carbs and starchy breads everyday, a lot. I am constantly eating. I eat when I'm bored, and Im always bored or when it's just there! it gives me something to do. I guess I'm never really full and if I am full, I can eat again a little while later. I've been trying to get a flatter stomach, but I don't know how to have a meal plan to follow. I always come short because I try to be perfect with eating this and that and not too much, and when I become full, it's like I feel like crap again because my stomach feels so full. I really need some advice on getting rid of stomach fat. Or suggestions on not to eat so much. Thank you! -Caitlin"

Sara - January 19, 2009 3:54 PM

The vegan in the quote was eating a junky diet and apparently inactive. I do not believe one can have six-pack abs without exercise. Muscle tone is from exercise not food, even good food. This blog promotes a nutritarian diet, not necessarily vegan though many nutritarians are vegan.

Matt Stone - January 20, 2009 9:34 AM

I agree that is a junky diet.

I used to believe that too Sara when I exercised 40 hours a week and still didn't have muscle tone. But I have discovered otherwise, and would argue that a diet that was able to eliminate all body fat could be considered a healthy option based on this post.

Steve - January 20, 2009 2:33 PM

Hi Gerry
I am not sure how Matt can attribute his previously emaciated body to vegetarianism, and not to exercising 40 (!?!) hours per week. How do you isolate the cause when there may be more than one factor?

Cheers, Steve

Sara - January 20, 2009 11:13 PM

Eliminate ALL body fat?? I know we should all have less body fat than most people think- but it is necessary to have some fat to live. 10% maybe but not 0.

Matt Stone - January 22, 2009 3:44 PM

Ha, ha. Mabye not all body fat, but around 10% - like a professional athlete. But a lion at the zoo can sleep all day and still be incredibly lean and muscular. It does not require exercise to be lean and live a long life. Humans do not either. Exercise is just a cover-up for a poor diet, or as T.L. Cleave, author of 1974 groundbreaking book, The Saccharine Disease states,

“…the countering of excess consumption, arising from the eating of refined carbohydrates by the taking of unwanted exercise is considered a perfect example of two wrongs not making a right, even though the extra exercise is well known to reduce the consequences of such overconsumption.”

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