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Get the Facts on Heart Disease DON'T BECOME A STATISTIC!

May 22, 2016 by Joel Fuhrman, MD

Yes, you can avoid falling victim to heart disease, the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States.1

Here are the alarming statistics:

  • Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease.2
  • Every 34 seconds, a person in the United States has a heart attack.2
  • 50 percent of men and 64 percent of women who die suddenly from a heart attack never have a warning or a symptom3
  • At least 68 percent of people over 65 with diabetes die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease, and 16 percent die of stroke.2
  • Currently, heart disease is estimated to cost more than $316.6 billion, including health care services, medications, and lost productivity.2

The good news is by following the recommendations of my Nutritarian diet-style, virtually everyone can improve their heart health. In fact, if you start in time, you actually can make yourself heart attack proof. There is no magic to heart health. Educating yourself with the latest scientific findings and eating a diet of delicious, natural, unprocessed food allows you to protect yourself. Following this approach along with the right supplementation, when necessary, and exercise consistently, you can achieve positive results without the use of drugs or surgery.

Is High Cholesterol really that bad?

There is irrefutable scientific evidence that high cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Most people are not aware that heart disease can be totally prevented and cholesterol levels dropped radically low, without drugs, by adopting a diet based on nutrient-dense, plant-rich foods, such as I prescribe to my patients and describe in my book The End of Heart Disease; a program for those who want to completely remove their risk of heart disease and not merely lower their risk a little. Furthermore, for those few who are unable to reduce their LDL below 100 through dietary changes alone or are new to the program, by adding a safe, natural plant sterol supplement almost everyone can achieve truly protective cholesterol levels without medications and their risky side effects.

Choosing the right diet to reverse heart disease

Eating a low fat diet is not sufficient. So many people believe that by eating a low fat diet and watching their intake of saturated fat with egg whites, fish and chicken, they are protected. They are not. My recommendations are multifaceted and involve an understanding of nutrient density and comprehensive nutritional adequacy. We must follow a diet-style rich in nutrients that contain the variety of substances needed by the body for blood vessel and heart health. The diet-style that I recommend takes into account these basic facts:

With most of its calories coming from vegetables, beans, nuts and fruit, this diet style has been shown in scientific studies to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides, and published case studies have documented heart disease reversal.4, 5 People who adopt this dietary approach, consisting primarily of natural plant foods, not only do not develop heart disease, but those who already have heart disease and peripheral vascular disease reduce the amount of plaque in their arteries dramatically in a reasonable time frame. Studies have shown that people with advanced heart disease, who combine a plant-based diet with cholesterol lowering therapies are able to both reverse their heart disease and totally prevent the future occurrence of heart attacks.6Natural and safe plant sterol supplements are effective at lowering cholesterol further, making an LDL cholesterol level below 100 obtainable, without risky medications, for almost all patients.7The same diet that helps protect you against heart disease also reverses obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes and protects against cancer.












(1) After a year on a low-fat diet, the results were same or very slight improvement.
I went on very strict low-fat diet for 2 years, to improve it.




(2) After 2 years on very strict low-fat diet, significantly worse! The radiologist said, "The lesion on the left side is stable, there is some early buildup on the right side. I got a nice picture of a lipid (fat) inclusion in the artery wall."
Started Fuhrman program, I learned of from Jeff Novick.




(3) After 20 months of Fuhrman program, great results!! Thinner artery walls. Radiologist comments: "Borderline evidence of atherosclerotic burden"

No longer talking about a lesion or early buildup!! Barely any sign of atherosclerosis.



In the process of following your program to address my cardiovascular problem, I also lost 10 pounds, to pinch 1/2 inch (I am 6'0" and now 157 pounds). This was my regimen:

Run 2 miles/day. (I ran 4 miles/day during the last 2 unsuccessful years of eating a low-fat diet.) Daily supplements: Osteo-Sun, Gentle Care, fish oil. 3-4 oz nuts and seeds daily, after I reached my lean weight (pinch 1/2 inch) which took the first 2 months. Last 5 months eating 2 meals instead of 6+ meals (I believe very valuable) (On a low-fat diet, I was living on whole grains, and eating 6+ meals while gaining much less nutrition.)Morning blended salad, noon workout, evening steamed veggies, beans, nuts & seeds, fruit, oatmeal. (No noon meal, no snacks. Evening meal is several little meals, 5PM to 8PM (roughly).carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) test. The IMT measures the thickness of the two innermost layers of the carotid arteries located in the neck, where blood-flow-blocking plaque first develops. Abnormal, premature thickening of the arterial walls is an early indicator of vascular disease throughout the body. The thicker the arterial wall, the greater the risk for heart attack or stroke. It is used with patients for its ability to generally assess arterial health and plaque burden in your body and because it is noninvasive and causes no pain or discomfort. It is especially useful to monitor your IMT score every 1-2 years to determine if your condition is getting better or worsening over time.


This part of the artery is called the "intima". The area just below it is the "media" or muscular part of the artery. The interface of these two layers of the artery is the site at which atherosclerotic plaque first develops. An example of the location of a plaque in the carotid artery is shown in the illustration. Measuring your IMT is a useful way of screening for arterial disease using ultrasound technology, and is especially useful for monitoring changes. It is primarily recommended for those who are suspected to have a higher risk of having plaque on their arteries (those with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors), but can be utilized by anyone.

If you are at all concerned that you may be at risk, my Nutritarian diet as outlined in The End of Heart Disease will enable you to achieve remarkable reductions in cardiac risk factors, which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and being overweight/obese. Your heart will thank you.

  1. Xu J, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD, Bastian BA. Deaths: Final Data for 2013. Natl Vital Stat Rep 2016, 64:1-119.
  2. Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2016 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2016, 133:e38-e360.
  3. Roger VL, Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics--2012 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2012, 125:e2-e220.
  4. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism 2001, 50:494-503.
  5. Fuhrman J, Singer M. Improved Cardiovascular Parameter With a Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Rich Diet-Style: A Patient Survey With Illustrative Cases. Am J Lifestyle Med 2015.
  6. Esselstyn CB, Jr. Updating a 12-year experience with arrest and reversal therapy for coronary heart disease (an overdue requiem for palliative cardiology). Am J Cardiol 1999, 84:339-341, A338.
  7. Weingartner O, Bohm M, Laufs U. Controversial role of plant sterol esters in the management of hypercholesterolaemia. Eur Heart J 2009, 30:404-409.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, seven-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
For over 25 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.