Whose Diet Is Really Right?

Dean Ornish argues that dietary fat is prematurely killing Americans.

Atkins counters with "Bah-Humbug!"

Surely it is grains, potatoes and carrots that are erasing our numbers before their time. Devotees of each camp have every right to claim victory, but no right to chastise the other camp. Simply put, for reasons that we just might uncover on this page, both may be right.

by Doug A. Kaufmann

I have had the honor of interviewing Dr. Ornish and the late, great Dr. Atkins. I found that both men were enthusiastic about their discoveries and shared a childlike energy. Neither disrespected the other, but they did challenge the other's dietary statements. To my amazement, both had solid scientific evidence that they were right and their adversaries were wrong. How could this be?

With all due respect to these two fine doctors, I doubt that either understood that there are regularly eaten foods in the American diet that are "commonly contaminated with mycotoxins [fungal poisons]," according to Ruth Etzel, Ph.D., M.D. (JAMA, 2002;287[4]:425-7).

Dr. Ornish removes animal fat from his patients' diets. Dramatic reversals in heart disease have been noted. Unbeknownst to Dr. Ornish, or at least not appearing in any of his publications, agricultural scientists have documented that when cattle feed on mycotoxinladen grain, the most dangerous components of this grain (mycotoxins) end up in their fat. When humans eat the fat on meat, logic dictates that they will consume high amounts of mycotoxins, which have been linked to more than just cancer. Heart disease, proven to decrease while on the Dr. Ornish diet, is also linked with dietary mycotoxins. Dr. Ornish also abolishes alcohol, itself a mycotoxin! The Ornish dietary program increases living foods like fruits and vegetables, both being antimycotoxic. Most importantly, people following a prescribed diet begin feeling better, exercising more and spending more time outside in the sun (an antimycotoxin). Their need for medication, particularly antibiotics, diminishes. In my opinion, antibiotics, themselves mycotoxins, will likely be proven to be the most dangerous of all medications. Quite simply, Dr. Ornish's dietary recommendations minimize exposure to mycotoxins, while maximizing the antimycotoxic component of healthy living!

Dr. Atkins proposed eliminating all grains from the diet, along with other forms of carbohydrates. Like Ornish, Atkins patients were also recovering, and most puzzling was the fact that heart disease patients and those with high cholesterol were also dramatically benefiting from the Atkins Diet!

Atkins never knew, to the best of my knowledge, that grains were "commonly contaminated" with mycotoxins. He learned that his heart patients did well when they ate meat and eggs and avoided grains. The mycotoxins in meat are really concentrated in the animal fat, not in the red meat. You might recall that in the '70s and '80s, store meat departments began carefully trimming off the fat in order to fight heart disease. Meat also contains conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs), a fatty acid related to the omega-6 fatty acids, which are naturally antimycotoxic. Both meat and eggs have been called the "perfect amino acid [protein building blocks] food blends." Interestingly, all amino acids are antifungal! Additionally, eggs, the villains of yesteryear, have become a food choice for those recovering from fungal or yeast diseases. As it turns out, dietary cholesterol (egg yolk) does not become blood cholesterol, so eggs don't increase cholesterol levels. Rather, egg yolk is loaded with biotin (antifungal) and amino acids and therefore is a food that contributes to good health. By avoiding grains on the Atkins Diet, a follower is also avoiding mycotoxins associated with grains in their diet. Atkins allows many vegetables, known to be antimycotoxic. Hence, the Atkins Diet, like the Ornish Diet, minimizes exposure to mycotoxins, while maximizing antimycotoxins!

Both were right, but unfortunately, neither likely understood the ability of fungal poisons to ruin health. Conversely, neither comprehended the incredible healing nature of good food because of its antimycotoxic nature. But now you do! The boxing gloves should now come off as you, regular readers of Healthy Living, begin to unravel the mysteries surrounding diseases like cancer and heart disease, to name a couple. Yes, diet is important, but understanding why diet is important makes us both prudent consumers AND healthy people!

Doug Kaufmann's live, one-hour television show, Know the Cause!, airs daily, Monday through Friday.

Visit Doug Kaufmann at www.KnowtheCause.com