18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Friday, May 14, 2010


Healthy appetizers:  Hummus and Spinach Dip with carrots, pita chips, pepper slices, and broccoli.


Anonymous said...

Hi Heather,

My question is not about this entry. Nevertheless, I would really like to hear your point of view about this issue.

I have read books written by Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish and I am aware that they have effectively used a very low fat (10%) vegan diet to reverse heart disease.

However, more and more often I read that vegan RDs advocate against the low-fat approach. They say that just replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats is sufficient to lower cholesterol.

My parents are in their 50s and since one of their friends recently underwent a by-pass surgery they are scrambling to make changes in their diet to avoid the same faith. I am trying the best I can to help them transition to a healthier more plant based diet and eliminate as many animal foods as possible. However, I am not sure what I should tell them in regards to their fat intake. I am pretty sure that they might have some plaque in their arteries and don't know whether a recommendation of 30% fat intake will be sufficient to reverse the course. What do you say to your patients in regards to this?

Thank you,

Matt said...

I came over to your blog to pass this onto you, in case you have not seen it:

Atherosclerosis: its cause and its prevention. The American journal of cardiology yr:2006 vol:98 iss:11 pg:1550 -1555

And since I'm here and a vegan RD, I'll give my view on Lisa's comment: Replacing saturated fat with poly and mono unsaturated will lower LDL and raise HDL. There other factors, namely fiber and exercise that play an important role, but in regards to fat, it's all about saturated. I eat 30-35% fat. Good luck!

VeganHeartDoc said...

Philadelphia -- to add to what Matt had to say, consuming non-saturated fats instead of saturated and trans-fats will have beneficial effects on lipids. The question of low-fat is a tough one, though. The WHI (Women's Health Initiative) that looked at a "low-fat" diet showed no benefit. However, their "low-fat" diet was nearly 30% of calories from fat -- hardly a low-fat diet! Ornish has shown excellent results with a diet that results in less than 10 percent of calories from fat.

There is no true threshhold for exactly how much fat one should get, but I'd say it's well under 30%. I hate to tell people to count every single gram of fat and every calorie because that takes the fun out of eating. Aiming for a healthier diet, with less (and preferably no) animal fat, and lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is the best approach.