Dr. Keith Roach, in his daily columnto a heart disease victim, recommended “a diet based mostly on plants, with the option of adding whole grains, fish, nuts, fruits and lean meat sources such as skinless chicken.”  He did emphasize low sugar foods but then said “commercial red meat” should be limited to no more than two servings per week.  He concluded that “this diet is likely to reduce risk of further events.”

For going on 55 years the science-based drum role for a proper diet has centered around several factors.  A. Total Nutrients.  B. Low Glycemic.  C. Balanced Essential Fats.

I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Roach’s emphasis to restrict one’s diet to very low glycemic (low sugar) foods.  That is a critically important step in everyone’s diet.  In fact, no sugar at all is best.  Unfortunately he did not mention that seeds, grains, potatoes, and many fruits are dangerously high glycemic.

He did not mention anything about total nutrients either.  All grains, nuts, and fruits are low nutrient foods.  Most of these plant-based foods have only 60% of the nutrients required to support optimal health.  Only some plant-based foods (mostly the green leafy type) are nutrient dense with the full spectrum of nutrients required to support optimal health.  Kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and such are in that category.

Dr. Roach totally ignored the last component of the diet which is to balance the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).  EFAs are not manufactured by animal bodies, therefore animals and people must get them from their overall diet.  The EFAs are the inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids (n6)  and the very healthy Omega-3 fatty acids (n3).  The n3 fats play very important roles in the function of the brain, nervous system, and immune system.  For at least 50 years, research has shown that the proper balance by weight of these two families of EFAs should be equal.

The EFAs and their impact on health and disease have been mostly misunderstood by the medical establishment.  They talk about n3, but not in terms of its natural balance with n6.  Balance between the two is key.  The green leaf is the foundation food for all animal life.  The balance of EFAs in green plants is a lower weight of n6 than n3 with the ratio being somewhere around 0.5:1.  This is why many tests indicate that human populations with EFA ratios of 1:1 or lower have far better heart health than populations with balances that exceed 4:1.  Americans are mostly in the 10:1 category or higher!  That’s because the American diet is top heavy with foods that have low levels of n3 and very high levels of inflammatory n6 fatty acids.

The Dr. William Lands test for heart heath is based on the EFA balance.  You can take this test at home by visiting this website:  lipidlab.com  This test, the results are dependent on one’s diet, is a great predictor of heart health and also a great predictor for nearly all chronic diseases including cancer, obesity, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, mental disorders and the list of chronic diseases is nearly endless.

Now this is where Dr. Roach’s dietary suggestions get really interesting.  Here are the EFA ratios of selected foods taken from available government data.  Seeds average 95:1.  Nuts average 17:1.   Grains average 16:1 with corn being 32:1.  Legumes are mixed with some averaging 2:1 with soybeans averaging 7:1 and peanuts averaging a whopping 5,200:1.  Some fruits average 2:1 while most fruits are high glycemic with ratios well above 5:1.  All plant-based cooking oils are primarily sources of n6 that contribute to the n3 deficit.  Commercial chicken (skinless included) and pork range between 18:1 to 24:1.  Commercial red meats average 15:1.  All of these foods are plant-based with the meats coming from animals that were fed grain.  These foods are all contributing factors in chronic disease.

What are the good foods for properly balancing the EFAs?  They are seafood with an average of 0.2:1, certain green vegetables which average 0.5:1, and grass-fed meats which average 1:1.  These food categories are nutrient diverse and dense, very low glycemic, and with excellent fatty acids profiles.  Foods from these three groups, two of which are animal-based, can be eaten with gusto to address any chronic disease, particularly those mentioned above.

There are thousands of nutritional, peer-reviewed studies showing that when the EFA ratio is brought down to 1:1, inflammation in the body is reduced significantly and the symptoms of many chronic diseases are diminished.  Nutritional biochemists have been pounding this table for decades while today’s medical establishment continues to dispense contrary dietary advice that is not supported by scientific inquiry and which actually dates back to the theories promoted by Kellogg in 1900.  It’s beyond time for change.

Ted Slanker

June 9, 2015