NUTRITION AS MEDICINE
In the 1970s, Nathan Pritikin began promoting the idea that nutrition and lifestyle should be the treatment for cardiovascular disease. He was a layman who spent several years experimenting with his own diet to idealize his cholesterol profile. His base of operations was Santa Monica, California, not 2 miles from our offices at Preventive Cardiology Center.
None of us believed his results. We should have been more open minded. Shortly thereafter, others began scientifically studying diet and nutrition as treatments for atherosclerotic artery disease. Some of these names are well known such as Dean Ornish M.D. and Caldwell Esselstyn M.D. Many others followed in the commercial promotion of a vegetarian diet as well as the basic science of plant based nutrition.
Thousands of studies have been published regarding the effects of this preventive approach on risk factors for heart and artery disease, cholesterol levels, biomarkers, artery pathology, and rates of heart attack and death. Eating patterns have been correlated with atherosclerotic event rates in cohort studies, population studies, and international trials. There is no doubt that a low fat, plant based diet is the most beneficial for people having any evidence of atherosclerotic artery disease.