The Non-atherogenic Lifestyle
A large number of studies have demonstrated the profound effect of diet on the prevention and treatment of a number of chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, hypertension and diabetes, the main concerns of this site.
Anyone who doubts that the average North American can make huge changes in the major factors underlying lifestyle diseases in a few months just by changing diet should consider the Biosphere 2 experiment. The most significant impact on the major determinants of lifestyle diseases in Biosphere 2 was probably calorie restriction. Within a few weeks diet and exercise can have huge effects on markers of atherosclerosis and blood pressure.
The recommended pyramid is similar to that of the DASH diet recommended by the NIH in the US for hypertension but very similar to diets proven to work for atherosclerosis and diabetes.
There exists controversy on the amount of “good” or unsaturated fat that is optimal. We take the position that any type of refined fat, like refined carbohydrate has no significant nutritional benefit compared to unrefined, whole foods and because of its high caloric density can contribute to intake of excess calories, by far the greatest nutritional problem in developed “Westernized” societies. Caloric restriction is more difficult on a high fat or high refined sugar diet.
The Biosphere 2 experiment showed huge reductions in blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood glucose with moderate calorie restriction (1800 kcal/day). But you don’t have to even get to that level to have dramatic effects on preventing lifestyle diseases.