We doctors with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a big ego that makes it difficult for us to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years of experience, with over 5000 open heart surgeries, today the time has come to repair the damage with medical and scientific facts.

For many years I trained with other doctors labeled as “opinion formers. Bombarded with scientific literature, continuously attending seminars, opinion formers have insisted that heart disease is the result of simply having very high cholesterol levels in the blood.

The only accepted therapy was to prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs and a very fat-restricted diet. We insist that the latter would undoubtedly lower cholesterol and heart disease. Any departure from these recommendations was considered heresy and could result in medical malpractice.

It’s not working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease,

is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

Long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, consequences that dwarf any other plague in history in terms of mortality, human suffering and severe economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population take expensive statin drugs, and despite the fact that we have reduced the amount of fat in our diet, more people will die from heart disease.

Statistics from the American Heart Association indicate that 75 million Americans suffer from heart disease, 20 million from diabetes, and 57 million from pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting increasingly younger people, in greater numbers each year.

Simply put, without inflammation in the body, it is not possible for cholesterol to build up in the walls of blood vessels and cause heart disease and stroke. Without inflammation, cholesterol moves freely throughout the body. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

Inflammation is not complicated – it is simply a natural reaction of the body to foreign invaders such as bacteria, toxins, or viruses. The inflammation cycle is a way to protect the body from bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to damage from toxins or food that the human body is not designed to process, a condition called chronic inflammation occurs.

What sensible person would be intentionally and repeatedly exposed to food or other substances that they know cause bodily harm? Well, maybe smokers, but they make that decision voluntarily.

The rest of us just follow the recommended diet which is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fat and carbohydrates, not knowing that we are causing repeated damage to our blood vessels. This repeated aggression produces chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: the injury and inflammation of our blood vessels is caused by a low-fat diet, something recommended for years by conventional medicine.

What are the major culprits of chronic inflammation? In short, the overload of simple and processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all by-products) and overconsumption of omega-6 vegetable oils, such as soybean, corn and sunflower oils found in many processed foods.

Visualize the following: a hard brush that is rubbed repeatedly on the skin until it reddens and almost bleeds. You keep this several times a day, daily for 5 years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, there would be bleeding, swelling of the infected area which would get worse and worse as the aggression repeats. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be happening in your body right now.

Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, either internally or externally, it’s the same thing. I have observed the inside of thousands and thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone had picked up a brush and rubbed it against the walls several times. Several times a day, every day, the food we eat produces small lesions, over which others are produced, causing the body to respond continuously with inflammation.

Although the taste of some cakes is tempting, our bodies respond alarmingly, as if a strange invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugar and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6s for longer shelf life have been one of the cornerstones of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.

How does eating a simple candy produce an inflammatory cascade that makes you sick?

Imagine spilling honey on your keyboard and you have a visual representation of what happens inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar levels rise rapidly. In response, the pancreas secretes insulin, whose primary mission is for sugar to enter all the cells where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid a dysfunction of the processes that take place inside it.

When your cells reject excess glucose, blood sugar levels rise, producing more insulin, and glucose is stored in the form of fat.

What does all this have to do with inflammation? The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled in very narrow ranges. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that damage the walls of blood vessels. This repeated injury to the blood vessel walls triggers inflammation. When your blood sugar level goes up several times a day, every day, it’s like rubbing the delicate inside of your blood vessels with sandpaper.

While he can’t see it, you can be sure it does. I saw it in more than 5,000 patients who underwent surgery during the 25 years I’ve been practicing. They all had one common denominator: inflammation of the arteries.

Let’s get back to the subject of cakes. This innocent-looking product not only contains sugar, but is also made with omega-6 fatty acids, such as those from soybeans. French fries are fried with soybean oil; many processed foods are made with omega-6 fatty acids for longer shelf life. While omega-6 fats are essential – they are part of the cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell – they must be in balance with omega-3s.

If this balance is broken down by excessive consumption of omega-6 fatty acids, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines, which directly cause inflammation.

Today, the American-style diet usually produces a very large imbalance between these two types of fatty acids. The imbalance ratio can be around 15:1, or even 30:1 in favour of omega-6 fatty acids. This is an enormous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the overweight you’re carrying from eating these foods produces an overload of fat cells that pour out large amounts of pro-inflammatory chemicals, in addition to injuries caused by high blood sugar levels. The process that began with a cake becomes a vicious cycle that eventually leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and finally, Alzheimer’s, if the inflammatory process continues.

There is no escaping the fact that the more processed foods we consume, the more inflammation is triggered little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugar and soaked in omega-6 fatty acids.

There is no other solution to reduce inflammation than to consume foods as close to their natural state as possible. To rebuild muscles, eat more protein. Choose complex carbohydrates, such as those found in colorful fruits and vegetables. Reduce or eliminate consumption of omega-6 fatty acids that cause inflammation, such as corn and soybean oil, and processed foods made with these oils.

One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6 fatty acids; soy 6,949 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed animals.

Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than supposedly healthy polyunsaturated oils. Forget the “science” you’ve had in your head for decades.

The science that saturated fats alone cause heart disease is not true. The science that saturated fats increase cholesterol is also very weak. Since we know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fats is even more absurd today.

The theory of cholesterol led to recommending foods without or with little fat, which brought about the creation of the foods that are causing this epidemic of inflammation. Conventional medicine made a tremendous mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fats in favor of foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Now we have an epidemic of arterial inflammation, which leads to heart disease and other silent killers.

What you can do is choose unprocessed foods. By eliminating the inflammatory foods and adding the essential nutrients present in unprocessed fresh foods, you will reverse years of damage to your arteries and your entire body caused by consumption of the typical American diet.