When cardiac surgeon Dr. Dwight Lundell “confessed” that he had got heart disease wrong throughout his career, people sat up and noticed. Hundreds of thousands of people shared his essay, called “Heart Surgeon Declares On [sic] What Really Causes Heart Illness,” on Facebook. In it, he explained why he had changed his mind about the advice that he’d given in his career.
The standard advice for heart health, as given by the American Heart Association, is to keep saturated fat low and avoid sugar. In particular, it says that you should avoid the kind of fat called “trans fat.” This all means picking fat-free or low-fat dairy. And if you enjoy red meat, you need to pick the cuts that have the least fat that you can find.
For 25 years, Lundell gave similar advice, suggesting a diet low in fat and writing prescriptions for drugs that would lower cholesterol. But in his essay he wrote, “We physicians with all our experience and authority often acquire a rather large selfishness that tends to make it hard to accept we are wrong. So, here it is. I openly admit to being mistaken.”
Instead, Lundell now claims that a diet low in fat and high in simple carbs is causing swelling in our arteries, which attracts cholesterol, creating the plaque that leads to life-threatening blockages. He now says that it’s not just processed carbs that are the problem, but also eating too much omega-6 fatty acid, rather than the healthy omega-3. He urges a healthier ratio of the fatty acids than that currently eaten.
To avoid the problem, Lundell suggested that you should eat natural foods. He wrote that you should not eat anything that your grandma wouldn’t think was food. This means eating complex carbs such as fruit and vegetables with plenty of color. And crucially, he claimed that you needn’t worry about fat. However, a note of caution has been sounded about Lundell himself, since it is alleged that his medical license was withdrawn in 2008 because of misconduct.