This week we have the pleasure of hearing from Dwight Lundell. In his own words:
“Dr. Lundell’s experience in Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery over the last 25 years includes certification by the American Board of Surgery, the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Dr. Lundell was a pioneer in “Off-Pump” heart surgery reducing surgical complications and recovery times. He’s in the Beating Heart Hall of Fame and has been listed in Phoenix Magazine’s Top Doctors for 10 years.
He has been recognized by his peers as a leader and has served as Chief resident at the University of Arizona and Yale University Hospitals and later served as Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery.
He was one of the founding partners of the Lutheran Heart Hospital which became the second largest Heart hospital in U.S. and is now owned by Banner Health
As a recognized leader in his field, Dr. Lundell has consulted and advised for a variety of leading medical device manufacturers such as Cardio Thoracic Systems, Inc. before and after it’s acquisition by Guidant Corporation. He advised St. Jude Medical on tissue valve implantation and marketing. For A-Med, Inc., he consulted on, conducted, and published the first clinical study on miniature pumps for heart support. He co-authored a clinical study validating key technology for Coalescent Surgical, which was subsequently acquired by Medtronic, Inc.
Publications & Presentations
The Cure for Heart Disease: July 2007
A Miniature Right Heart Support System Improves Cardiac Output and Stroke Volume During Beating Heart Posterior/Lateral Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting, Heart Surgery Forum, 2003;6(5):302-6.
Clinical and Six-Month Angiographic Evaluation of Coronary Arterial Graft Interrupted Anastomoses by Use of a Self-Closing Clip Device: a Multi-center Prospective Clinical Trial, J. Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 2003 Jul; 126(a):168-77, discussion 177-8.
The Interrelationship of Factors Controlling Cardiac Output, Med Hypothesis, 1983 Jan; 10(1):77-95.
Clinical Applications of the Intra-aortic Balloon Pump, Ariz Med, 1981 Jan;38(1):19-21.
Randomized Comparisons of the Modified Wire-Guided and Standard Intra-aortic Balloon Catheters, J. Thorac Cardiovasc Surg, 1981 Feb;81(2):297-301.
Combined Aortic Valve Replacement and Myocardial Revascularization, Connecticut Medicine, 1980 Jun;44(6):363-6.
The Importance of Myocardial Protection in Combined Aortic Valve Replacement and Myocardial Revascularization, Annual. Thorac Surg, 1979 Dec;28(6):501-8.
Leiomyoma of the Esophagus, Conn Med, 1979 Aug;43(8):483-5
Cold Chemical Cardioplegia, Presentation at the New England Surgical Society, May, 1979.
Doppler Ultrasound Diagnosis of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Presented at Connecticut Society of Board Surgeons, December 1978.
Hypoliquorreic Headache and Pneumoncephalus Caused by Thoracosub Arachnoid Fistula, Neurology 1977 Oct;27(10):993-995.
Guidelines for the Management of Lung Cancer, Ariz Med, 1977 Mar;34(3):176-82.
Yale University School of Medicine
Chief Resident, Cardiothoracic Surgery, 1978-1979
Yale University School of Medicine
Cardiothoracic Surgery Resident, 1977-1978
University of Arizona, Arizona Health Sciences Center
Chief Resident, General Surgery, 1976-1977
University of Arizona, Arizona Health Sciences Center
Surgery Resident, 1971-1973, 1975-1977
University of Arizona, Arizona Health Sciences Center
General Surgery Intern, 1971-1972
University of Arizona
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort
Jonathan Bailor: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor back with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim podcast. I am really excited about today’s show. I want to give a quick disclaimer, because we’re going to go a little bit deep on today’s podcast, but we’re going to do that intentionally. Today’s guest is very much able to go deep on what really happens when we come down with heart disease. What’s actually going on behiHeart nd the scenes? We have a surgeon with us who has performed about 5,000 coronary bypass surgeries, about 2,500 other heart surgeries, 1,000 lung cancer surgeries and general surgeries, and 5,000 plus general vascular surgeries. An individual who has literally thousands of hours of hands on experience with diseased hearts and diseased arteries. Who better to tell about what truly is causing this at a biological level than the wonderful surgeon, wonderful man, and author of The Cure For Heart Disease, Doctor Dwight Lundell, welcome to the show.
Dwight Lundell: Thank you Jonathan, it is wonderful to be on with you.
Jonathan Bailor: Again, Doctor Lundell, thank you so much for joining us. It was truly a pleasure meeting you on the low carb cruise. One thing that really resonated with me about your talk on the low carb cruise. It felt like I was back in University, which was alright because it quite academic. What you did so well was-without editorializing too much, getting too personal, or leveraging your personal preferences on what tastes good and what is and isn’t moral to eat-you stated very simply “here is the biology of what happens when your body breaks down from a vascular and cardiovascular perspective”. What I am hoping is that we can stick to just the facts. Let’s focus on the biological facts and talk about what really causes heart disease.
Dwight Lundell:That would be great. It’s been my passion for thirty years.
Jonathan Bailor: From the top, what we generally hear, Doctor Lundell, and certainly very recently our mutual friend Jimmy Moore was engaged in a wonderful discussion on what cause heart disease, and it didn’t really seem like it reflected much of your person experience or much of the scientific literatue. Let’s just start from square one. What happens when we “get” heart disease, and what leads up to that?
Dwight Lundell: Let’s define heart disease for a minute to clarify that for the listeners. When we say “heart disease”, we are talking about atherosclerosis or plaque build up in the arteries that feed the heart muscle. Symptoms occur. Heart attacks and death occur when that blood vessel gets completely closed and causes heart muscle to die which generally leads to a fatal irregular heartbeat. When we talk heart disease, we’re talking about the arteries that feed the heart muscle getting plugged up, and the consequences of them getting plugged up.
Jonathan Bailor: Excellent, that makes perfect sense. Let’s keep going.
Dwight Lundell: Well, the blood vessels really are the brains of the whole cardiovascular system. We attach lots of things to the heart. Emotion, bravery, and all of those kinds of things. “He’s got a heart”. The heart obviously is a wonderful thing. It pumps gallons and gallons of blood every hour and doesn’t complain. Really, the brains of the system that control everything and send the blood where it’s supposed to go and keep it flowing, keep it from clotting, carry our nutrients around, carry our waste products back; so the thing that really controls where things go, when they go, or how much goes are the blood vessels. The blood vessels are basically controlled by the single cell layer thick lining of the blood vessel, which is called the endothelium. These cells, once again, single cell layer thick, must stop and think about it. Everything that we take in from air to food to water, etc. Has got to go down this pipe and through this little single layer to get to the rest of our cells. All of the waste products that we generate from metabolism, they go through these cells to get back into the vascular system to be expelled as C02 from the lungs or passed out as urine or sweat or whatever it might be. It’s really the critical layer that controls the circulation and ultimately, it controls most of our metabolism.
Jonathan Bailor: When that layer starts to break down, is that when we start to see the first signs of heart disease and cardiovascular disease?
Dwight Lundell: Yes, that’s the key. Without something bad happening to that single layer, we would never get heart disease at all.
Jonathan Bailor: What have you seen in your ten plus thousand hours inside the body? What is causing this?
Dwight Lundell: I was telling someone the other day that I’ve seen more naked bodies than a pornography producer. Unfortunately, most of them were sick and in desperate circumstances. In that way, it’s not funny at all. It’s sad and tragic, but luckily we have some sort of simple mechanical ways to stave off the effects of metabolic consequences on those blood vessels. It was pretty frustrating to realize that there were winning battles with these people, but ultimately we were losing the war on heart disease because we weren’t paying attention to the fundamentals because we weren’t paying attention to what was going on with this tiny layer called the endothelium.
Jonathan Bailor: What is the misunderstanding? Why are we, as a culture, not paying attention to that and what are we doing to continuously inflame it, for lack of better terms?
Dwight Lundell: Well we were focused for the last four years on cholesterol and controlling cholesterol with medication, and cholesterol levels in our blood with diet. It’s the biggest conversation when we talk about health. “How are we doing?” “Oh, my cholesterol is great”. That just isn’t the problem. Here’s why it isn’t the problem: over half the people with a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a substance we make in our own body. It’s not a toxic substance in any way, shape, or form, and we had sort of a simplified idea about “as long as we can lower the cholesterol, then we can cure heart disease”. The interesting thing is that once the diagnosis is made, we stop thinking about the problem. This is what happened with heart disease. We stopped thinking about what was going on with this blood vessel. We were just looking at something we could measure and change with medication. That is cholesterol levels. As we moved on from coronary bypass surgery where we take a vein from the leg and detour around the blockage, we moved on to angioplasties, where we put a little tiny balloon inside there and inflate it to try to move the plaque out of the way. Then was a time we stepped back and took another look at what really was going on in here. This happened in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. Finally, all the little steps along the way were elucidated and we understood that the fundamental mechanism of atherosclerosis that is the fundamental mechanism of cholesterol and cellular debris, etc. causing a plaque in the blood vessel which ultimately had consequences of heart attack, stroke, etc. was low grade inflammation. You hit it on the said when you said “inflame the artery”, because it turns out that it low grade inflammation that is the fundamental mechanism of the plaque, makes the plaque grow, and ultimately makes the plaque rupture, which is what results in the disastrous consequences of heart disease.
Jonathan Bailor: So Doctor Lundell, just to pause really quick and summarize to make sure I’m understanding this correctly; a couple things. The fundamental cause, it appears, if we’re going to measure anything and say “this is the thing that you need to watch out for”, if there is any one thing, the closest thing to fitting that bill is inflammation. That is in sharp contrast to what we’ve been told to think about, which is cholesterol. We’re all pretty familiar with (?) and fat phobia and how the whole cholesterol thing got started. One story I want to share with folks-I’m curious about your thoughts on it, Dwight-is this little story where you talked about being so focused on cholesterol because it’s something that we can measure. The story goes a little bit like this: A woman is out for a jog and her contact lens falls out. She starts looking around for it, not having any success. This other woman is sitting on a bench, and she sees the first woman looking around for her contact lens and she wants to help her. She sees that the woman who is looking for her contact lenses is standing under a near streetlight. She walks over to the woman looking for her contact lens under the streetlight and says “you’re holding your eye, I noticed you stopped jogging, did you lose your contact lens and can I help you look for it?” and the woman who lost her contact lens is very very happy and she says “absolutely, it fell out about ten feet back”. The second woman looks at her and says “I’m sorry, you said your contact lens fell out about ten feet back?” and the woman holding her eyeball says “yea, it fell out about ten feet back, pointing ten feet away from her”. The second woman says “why are you looking here if it fell out back there?” and the woman who is holding her eyeball says “well the light is better over here”.
Dwight Lundell: That’s a good story.
Jonathan Bailor: So it seems like that’s a little bit what’s happening here with atherosclerosis and heart disease and cholesterol. Is that fair?
Dwight Lundell: That is fair, if we can measure something and change something, we think we’re doing something, when as a matter of fact, we’re not doing anything. This is illustrated by the fact that half of the people that have heart attacks have a normal cholesterol level. Let’s focus back on inflammation and I didn’t say it was the cause, I said it was the mechanism. What causes inflammation is injury. Whenever we get injured, the biological response is inflammation. It’s a complicated cascade of events which we don’t need to go into just to say that inflammation is the response to injury. The classic signs are-if you remember when you got a scratch or whatever-redness, swelling, warmth, and pain. The classic signs, calor, dolor, rhubo, rhubor, right?
Jonathan Bailor: Makes sense.
Dwight Lundell: Anyway, what happens is that chemicals are secreted by cells to call out our white blood cells, which are our defense mechanism. They come to fight the battle and kill the bacteria or carry away the dirt or begin to bring nutrients and proteins and collagen in to heal the wounds. It’s a complicated process that starts with an acute, aggressive response. If we didn’t have this response, we’d die from every silly infection that came along, so be thankful for it. Normally, inflammation goes into a resolution phase so we heal the wound like a sliver in your skin. It was red, it was warm, it was painful, and swollen and then it started to heal a day or so later. There might be a tiny, miniscule scar, but it was gone. Really, it’s a fundamental injury to our endothelium. Repeated small injuries to our endothelium don’t allow resolution of the inflammation. That’s the cause of heart disease. This is well worked out. The best paper was published in the New England journal of medicine by Doctor Ross in 1999. The title was “Atherosclerosis is an Inflammatory Disease”. The cellular mechanisms in all of that, if anybody is interested, can look that article up. The real question for me, then, was once again I was winning battles but losing wars, so I stepped back and said “what’s causing the injury to the endothelium?”. There are many things that can do that. Cigarette smoking can do that. Chemicals of a variety of times can injure endothelium. These cells are relatively long lived cells, so it is hard for them to reproduce. When they get injured, they don’t do their function properly of dilating and contracting our blood vessels and controlling the flow and making sure it doesn’t clog and delivering the nutrients to the right places at the right time. This is called endothelial dysfunction. Not the ED that we see in the T.V. Commercials, but ED: endothelial dysfunction. In our modern society, we see that we don’t smoke as much as we did, our air pollution in most places is better than it was, but we’re still exposed to a lot of things. You wouldn’t necessarily smoke cigarettes and you wouldn’t stick your nose in the exhaust pipe of the diesel truck that is going by, and you wouldn’t intentionally injure yourself, so there are some things we can’t avoid, but there are some things we can. We take a look at what it is that could injure my endothelium repeatedly and cause this chronic inflammation and clog up my arteries and give me a heart attack? The best answer is to look at an accelerated example. That it to look at patients with diabetes. Almost all of them die of heart disease. They lose their vision, they lose their kidneys, we amputate their legs, but they still have severe heart disease. This would be an example of accelerated endothelial injury leading to this kind of disease. Lots of people have said that diabetes is an example of accelerated aging, etc. People have said “well, this is a great example. What is it about a diabetic that might injure the endothelium and cause these problems of liver failure, blindness, amputation, and heart disease?”. The answer is high glucose. That is the characteristic of diabetics. Their blood sugar is repeatedly high. Most cells have what is called an insulin receptor. They are responsive to insulin. When insulin is secreted from the pancreas in response to us eating carbohydrates, glucose is pushed into cells. When the cells are full, they say “no, I don’t need any more” and the insulin receptor is closed off. The sugar pump shuts down. The cell can control what goes on inside. The endothelial cell and a few other cells don’t have that same kind of insulin receptor, and they don’t have that same kind of glucose pump; so they are at the mercy of the glucose we have in our blood. What happens is that all of this glucose goes into the mitochondria, where we create energy creates lots of free radicals, which overwhelm our ability to neutralize them. That, fundamentally, is what injures the endothelial cell. High blood sugar. It doesn’t have to be very high to start this injury process. When we look at diabetes, we see that is a perfect example. It drives me crazy when I see a paper on hypoglycemic injury to all of these organs and all of these tissues and the endothelium and then somebody wants to start create a medicine to stop this endothelial injury and stop the oxidative stress. I start beating my head against the desk here reading an article. Why don’t we just eat a little less sugar?
Jonathan Bailor: Doctor Lundell, what I really appreciate about what you just did and hopefully what you will continue to do in this show-we’re talking about medical science here. We’re talking about cellular mechanisms and you talked us through very objectively, like “here is what happens. You have inflammation, you have cellular mechanisms, you have injury to the endothelial cells that cause inflammation, inflammation leads to heart disease. What can cause repeated injury to the endothelial cells? Okay, well what is the mechanism by which the injury can happen? Okay, what can we put in our body that can lead-” nothing in there was a moral statement. Nothing in there was tied to environmental concerns-not that those aren’t valuable things to think about-but that’s not what this conversation is about. If we’re talking about the cause of a medical condition, that is a question of biological mechanisms, which can be studied and demonstrated. If we want to “argue”, let’s argue those mechanisms in a very specific way. Like if someone were to disagree with you, I would expect them to say :you just outlined an eight step process. Step four is wrong, and here’s why”. Not attacking anything else. Anything else is, in some ways, I perceive as an admission that you’re correct, because if you were wrong why not just say “the science is wrong, and here’s why, and her’s a paper that proves it”. Listeners, as you’re out there just perusing the internet, I would urge you to see-if someone’s going to disagree with Doctor Lundell or any good doctor out there-they’re disagree based on distracting political type arguments. In some ways to me that that is an indication that the person that they are attacking is actually on to something. They are not agreeing with the argument, they are saying “oh, crap. The argument is sound, so I have to argue bout something else”. If you study logic or debate in an academic setting, when you start to see a person attacking a person for things other than the argument itself, ofte n times that is an indication that the argument is sound. When we’re talking about biology and people’s lives, getting the science correct is pretty important, isn’t it, Dwight?
Dwight Lundell: Oh, absolutely important Jonathan. Everything else is sort of a political or religious discussion if you will. What I’ve said about the mechanisms, those can all be measured. They’re worked out. They’re not controversial, it’s not promoting one medication or another or getting emotional about whether I’m eating a potato or a steak or saving the world or killing a plant or whatever. It’s biology. That’s where it happens is biology.
Jonathan Bailor: I’ve been saying this. This is sort of one of our slogans at Smarter Science of Slim: Biology isn’t a matter of opinion. We can certainly debate and have wonderful debates about whether or not we should eat this or that because it is good for the economy or agriculture, or because it makes the USDA happy, but those are all separate conversations. Everyone please, if you ever start talking to anyone about this or you read Doctor Lundell’s book The Cure For Heart Disease and you start to share the science with people or check out the New England journal of medicine paper that Doctor Lundell mentioned or any textbook which will explain that this is how this works, please just let them know “hey, I’m not arguing anything other than biological mechanisms. If you want to “disagree” with me, please disagree with me on the same level of what I’m talking about. Tell me why the biological mechanistic argument I’m making is wrong. Identify the chain in the biologic process that I’m talking about that is wrong. Until you actually do that, you’re actually arguing in support of what I’m saying because you are showing me that you can not disprove it”. This gets me a little bit amped up, Doctor Lundell, because it seems like if we could just bring the science back into this, a lot of the confusion just goes away. Let me give you a very simple example. Doctor Murium Nestle over at NYU is a brilliant researcher. Certainly she and I have some different opinions on some things, but she went on record stating one of her critiques of the USDA food guide pyramid is that it failed to recognize the biologic equivalency of starches and sugars in the body. I don’t care if you eat a potato, brown rice, a high fructose corn syrup; when it leaves your stomach, you’ve got glucose coming out the other end. It’s glucose. Your body isn’t like “oh, bees made this, it’s honey, I care”. No. The body just says “it’s glucose”. If we know glucose does certain things in the body, and we know certain foods turn into glucose, what are we arguing about? Am I missing something?
Dwight Lundell: That was actually funny because it all turns into glucose. It’s all broken down to that C6H12O6. It’s glucose. Glucose is not evil. Let’s not get drawn into that silly thing. We need some, and we can make some. Actually, to be absolute about it, we need zero because we can make-from protein and fat-the glucose that we need for certain cells that require glucose. It’s what happens. Let’s go back to what I said about injuring the endothelium. The endothelium starts to get injured when we raise the blood sugar above 160. Maybe less, maybe more. The pancreas begins to injure at those levels. Lots of other cells can’t defend themselves against high sugars. If we wanted to measure something to see if we are healthy, we sure measure-to see what we should eat and how much we should eat-our blood sugars at thirty minutes, one hour, and ninety minutes after we eat some food. I’m praying for the time that we have. It’s out there, but it’s not approved yet, that we have glucose that we have glucose markers that show our blood glucose onto our smartphones. The device is available. That would be the greatest health tool ever.
Jonathan Bailor: Doctor Lundell, I appreciate that you said that we’re not over here saying “good, bad, evil, political” just like if you drank 20,000 calories of fatty acids, that wouldn’t be good; an abundance of that. If you took amino acid supplements and just ate a found pound bag of amino acids, that wouldn’t be good for you either. We all acknowledge that over doing anything is bad and I think all we’re saying is “find the level of glucose-and certainly so much of our diet especially in Western culture breaks down into glucose-that will not cause repeated injury to your cardiovascular system or inflammation or heart disease. Focus on that. Don’t focus on arguing about politics or about ideological issues. What do you think?
Dwight Lundell: Absolutely. Once again, that’s the fundamentals. Whenever I see a headline “xyz is associated with this” or “red meat causes heart disease” or “eggs are healthy or eggs are bad” or “vitamin E is good” or “vitamin E is bad”, you see all of these headlines and we must fundamentally remember as we read these things-even if we read the medical literature-association is not causation. That’s where we got piled up on the cholesterol nonsense. Cholesterol would never ever be deposited in the wall of our blood vessel if it wasn’t for inflammation. Period. That’s plain biology. The levels of cholesterol are relatively irrelevant. It wouldn’t get there without inflammation, and many things can inflame the arteries, not just glucose, although in our modern environment-since we’ve cleaned up other things-glucose is the easiest to control and the most important as we look at both heart disease-which remains the largest killer in the USA-and obesity and diabetes. The cause of all of those is intermittent hyperglycemia-high blood sugar-from over consuming carbohydrates. You don’t get hypoglycemic from protein or fat, but you do from carbohydrates. A Big Gulp-you know, you see people walking about of the convenience market with one of these things-it’s got 200 grams of glucose. We do a glucose tolerance test to see if you are diabetic with 50 or 75 grams.
Jonathan Bailor: To be clear, you keep people in the office while you’re doing that because that “high level” of glucose-if you’re not monitored after administering that could cause problems to the patient, right?
Dwight Lundell: Yes, it could, and yet people are doing a super max glucose tolerance test six times a day.
Jonathan Bailor: I think they should have to put that on the Big Gulp container. “Only consume this under the watch of a physician”. You should be able to buy that Big Gulp, but only if you have a physician with you to monitor you.
Dwight Lundell: That would be a great idea. It just pains to see mothers bringing their babies out with big sodas followed by a bag of chips. Once again, if you like soda, you like soda, and you won’t die from drinking a soda, but those kids are going to get hyperglycemia because when you stop and think that we have about one teaspoon of sugar dissolved in our blood at any time-even at a level of 100-and you look at the Big Gulp and that’s 30 or more teaspoons of sugar.
Jonathan Bailor: Folks, I really want you to let that sink in. It is pretty easy when multitasking when listening to the show here-for one second here-what Doctor Lundell just mentioned which is born out of all sorts of research is that any point in time you’ve got about a teaspoon of glucose circulating in your body. That is five grams. If you eat 200 grams of glucose in a sitting, at least 195 of those have to go somewhere else. Where is that somewhere else, Doctor Lundell?
Dwight Lundell: It’s gotta go somewhere. Unless we really have very very healthy insulin and very healthy cells that respond to insulin, our blood sugar is going to be high, and it is going to injure our endothelium and lead to heart disease. The only place it can go is basically to the liver, the muscle, and fat cells. When the liver and muscle get full, there’s only one place it can go, and that is to fat.
Jonathan Bailor: So when we look at it from the biological mechanism’s perspective, when we overdo it in terms of insane carbohydrate-and let’s be very clear-you aren’t going to eat 200 grams of glucose if you’re eating non-starchy vegetables. Your stomach would explode before that would happen. We’re not saying anti-carbohydrate by any means. We’re saying anti-concentrated, unnatural sources of glucose which is only physically possible if you’re doing it through processed garbage or really starchy substances. If you do that, you inflame your tissues because you’ve got super high blood sugar, and then after that’s done-to add insult to injury-it goes into your fat cells. It’s like it punches your body in the face and then makes you fat. That doesn’t really seem like a fun experience.
Dwight Lundell: It’s just that simple. I love your mottos of “make it simple”. We get all wound up in all of this stuff. “Well, you can’t drink a sip of milk or half a piece of cheese or have some cheese with your dinner”. We get all wound up in this kind of stuff. It’s what happens to what we take in that is critical. I’ve heard references lately to some of the mummies that have been dug up that says “that proves that they were meat eaters” or “they were vegetable eaters” or “that proves something”. Mummies had heart disease. Well guess what? Even mummies had things that could damage their endothelium like living in a cave or breathing smoke all day long. Having poor dental hygiene, having wounds that don’t heal, having chronic infections-all of those kinds of things. To me, once again, those are silly arguments. As you say, let’s stick to some biology. If we want to get down to facts and be happy, let’s talk about biology. If we want to entertain ourselves, forget arguments, let’s talk about those other things.
Jonathan Bailor: Dwight, I think that, to me, is really the take home message of this conversation. It’s so important, listeners, that there is morality, politics, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, mathematics, mechanical engineering. There’s also biology. It’s a science, and if anyone is going to say something biological in nature, for example “protein from animals causes cancer, but protein from plant’s doesn’t”. I would urge you-don’t yell at that person-but just ask them “biologically, what is the mechanism by which plant based protein does not cause cancer yet animal based protein does?” Don’t they both just break down to amino acids? Are you really arguing that some of the essential amino acids-wait, what? If they can’t answer that, they are not arguing about biology. They are subtly making a moralistic or ideological argument and disguising it as a biological argument. What do you think about that, Dwight?
Dwight Lundell: I think that’s very very well said.
Jonathan Bailor: I appreciate that. It just frustrates me because I think it is made out to be more complicated than it needs to be. Obviously the biology is complicated, but layering all this other unnecessary editorialization, that’s when it gets really complicated. As you said, Doctor Lundell, people are dying, so we need to take a step back. I think some of us need to put our egos on the shelves and even though we said something at one point in time and the biology may contradict that, lets focus on the biology. Let’s focus on saving lives and not let anything cloud that. If we are, let’s say very clearly “I think this moral issue is actually more important than not getting heart disease”. That could be a very good argument, and let’s have that discussion rather than arguing past each other. I get on my soap box here, so I’ll quiet down. Well Doctor Lundell, if you have to leave our listeners with any one piece of wisdom-you’ve shared so much wisdom with us so far today-what would that be?
Dwight Lundell: Control your blood sugar.
Jonathan Bailor: I love it.
Dwight Lundell: To get the details, you can actually get a glucose meter for free from Albert Laboratiories and then order the scripts. It is quite revealing. If we’re going to talk about the future, the future of medicine is really taking better care of ourselves. The future of medicine for me is mixed. Some things are really really bad and make me unhappy about my beloved profession. Other things make me proud. I think we’re going to end up with do it yourself medicine and it’s really quite simple. You wouldn’t go out and purposefully cut yourself every day, so why are you going to go out and be hyperglycemic six times a day? It’s easy to solve. Get a glucose meter. The testing strips are relatively cheap. Test your fasting blood sugar, and test yourself an hour after you eat. If your blood sugar is high, you ate too much of the wrong thing. For lots of reasons, doctor’s can’t really tell you the truth anymore. That’s a whole ‘nother podcast, but even they they might want to, they’re literally forced to tell you to lower your cholesterol. The treatment protocols for hyperglycemia have nothing to do with the proper diet. They have all to do with medicines and this, that, and the other. Before we had insulin, we treated diabetics with a low carbohydrate diet. Duh. Some of it drives me crazy. I was watching a big broadcast about insulin levels. Insulin is associated with this disease and cancer, and I’m saying “whoa! What is it that makes high insulin levels?” it doesn’t come out of the sky. High insulin levels are the result of one thing. Stimulating the pancreas with carbohydrates. Yet you couldn’t say the word.
Jonathan Bailor: Doctor Lundell, if I have to leave my listeners with one thing, it is what you said about seeing all of these headlines. You see a headline, you see anyone saying anything. Act like a five year old. Keep asking why. If a new study comes out that says “vegetarians live longer”. If you actually read this study, it’s actually saying that people that eat vegetables live longer, which is completely different. If someone were to say that to you, ask “well, okay, why are you saying that? Oh, it’s because one group ate more vegetables than the other group. It has nothing to do with being a vegetarian. It has more to do with eating more vegetables. Okay, well why is it that eating more vegetables does that? Oh, okay, it’s because you think it has these biological mechanisms”. If people cannot follow you on that chain of “why”, stop. Then it’s not a biological argument. Just keep asking “why”. What do you think, Dwight?
Dwight Lundell: Absolutely correct. My best professor always said “what is the evidence?” ask what the evidence is and how does it work and why does it happen? Just on that note, you hear people quoting this study and that study, well 99% of them have read nothing but the abstract or a excerpt from the abstract. When you realize that probably 90% of the medical research that’s published today is wrong or skewed for one reason or another-just because it is published in a medical journal does not make it sacred truth. It makes it something that we need to look at, and when you say xyz is associated with abc, that does not mean causation, that means “is there a question? Why? Is it causation or something else?” Sort of a silly example is that reading comprehension is directly correlated with increasing shoe size. That’s a true statement.
Jonathan Bailor: That seems like that’s not the core source of our issues here.
Dwight Lundell: Increasing show size is associated with growing up and getting older and learning how to read. It wasn’t shoe size, it was learning how to read as we got older. Maybe that wasn’t a good example.
Jonathan Bailor: No, it makes total sense. I think the key here, Dwight, is that folks can’t let people confuse you. Obviously correlation does not result in causation. I don’t even think we need to go that far. Every time you hear any headline or see anything, just ask “why?”. I think you hit the nail on the head here, Doctor Lundell. At the bottom line, watch your blood sugar and living a healthier life doesn’t have to be that hard. What do you think?
Dwight Lundell: It’s simple.
Jonathan Bailor: I love it. Well Doctor Lundell, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing all of your insights. Folks, if you want to learn more about Doctor Lundell, please check out his book The Cure For Heart Disease. Doctor Lundell, thank you again for sharing this biology with us today. Biology really isn’t a matter of opinion. I appreciate you stepping us through the underlying process.
Dwight Lundell: Thank you so much, Jonathan.
Jonathan Bailor: Thank you Doctor Lundell. Listeners, I hope you enjoyed today’s show as much as I did, and remember; this week and every week after, eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better. Talk with you soon.