Clinton’s Heart Problems Really Are a Result of His Diet

Why Won’t More Doctors Tell Their Patients How to Make Themselves Heart-Attack Proof?

Back in 1855, a promi­nent Bap­tist preach­er told his flock, “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” Nowa­days, lies can trav­el even more quick­ly, thanks to the mag­ic of the Inter­net. On Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 11, 2010, the Asso­ci­at­ed Press sent around a news item titled “No cure for heart dis­ease, Clinton’s case shows.” Accord­ing to the arti­cle, for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton has just had more surgery to unclog his coro­nary arter­ies. He had a quadru­ple bypass in 2004, and now he has just had surgery to open up one of the bypass­es. Accord­ing to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press, Clinton’s car­di­ol­o­gist, Dr. Allan Schwartz, told a news con­fer­ence, “This was not a result of his lifestyle or his diet.” That’s a lie.

Com­pare what Dr. Schwartz said with the opin­ion of Dr. William Castel­li, who had been chief of the famous Fram­ing­ham Heart Study. When an inter­view­er asked how many heart attacks can we wipe out by changes in lifestyle, Dr. Castel­li respond­ed, “All of them. There are five bil­lion peo­ple on this earth. Four-bil­lion-plus will nev­er get a heart attack. Why can’t we be like them?” Castel­li explained that keep­ing cho­les­terol low through eat­ing a healthy diet has added ben­e­fits: “Stud­ies from Chi­na show that if your cho­les­terol is low, you won’t get breast or colon can­cer or dia­betes either.”

To make our­selves immune to coro­nary artery dis­ease, we sim­ply need to keep our total cho­les­terol below 150 mg/dL. Castel­li explained, “Your cells need cho­les­terol to make cell mem­branes and hor­mones. But when your total cho­les­terol is over 150—or your LDL [“bad”] cho­les­terol is over 90—the cells have more cho­les­terol than they can use and no way to get rid of the excess. They can’t break down or oxi­dize it, so it starts to pile up as a waxy deposit that will even­tu­al­ly choke the cells.”

Pop­u­la­tion stud­ies have shown that peo­ple who eat a low-fat, plant-based diet are “immune” to coro­nary artery dis­ease. Even when a pop­u­la­tion with a high risk of heart dis­ease is deprived of their favorite fat­ty, ani­mal-based foods, as a result of food rationing dur­ing wartime, their risk of heart attack plum­mets. It comes right back after peo­ple resume their old eat­ing habits, so the prob­lem is dietary, not genet­ic. Dr. Cald­well Essel­styn ( has shown that even patients with advanced coro­nary artery dis­ease can make them­selves “heart-attack proof” by switch­ing to a low fat (<10% of calo­ries), plant-based diet.

Bill Clinton’s heart dis­ease could have end­ed his life and may still do so. One promi­nent physi­cian has point­ed out that bypass surgery does almost noth­ing to save lives, and he pro­voked a con­tro­ver­sy by argu­ing that Clinton’s bypass surgery has had a detri­men­tal effect on the for­mer President’s men­tal func­tion­ing. The bypass surgery itself dis­lodges bits of crud from the major arter­ies, which then cause tiny block­ages (mini-strokes) in the brain. The decline in men­tal func­tion­ing after bypass surgery is so well rec­og­nized in med­ical cir­cles that they have a slang term for it: “pump head.”

Like the sex scan­dal that led to his impeach­ment, Clinton’s heart prob­lems result from his indul­gence of unhealthy appetites. Arti­cles about Clinton’s heart prob­lems rep­re­sent a “teach­able moment” to tell the Amer­i­can pub­lic what a healthy diet real­ly is. Yet once again, this oppor­tu­ni­ty is squan­dered.

Pho­to by shared­fer­ret

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