From Dr. Mercola:

Is saturated fat really the health hazard it’s been made out to be? Dr. Aseem Malhotra is an interventional cardiologist consultant in London, U.K., who gained quite a bit of publicity after the publication of his peer-reviewed editorial1 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2013.

In it, he seriously challenges the conventional view on saturated fats, and reviews how recent studies have failed to find any significant association between saturated fat and cardiovascular risk.

In fact, Malhotra reports that two-thirds of people admitted to hospitals with acute myocardial infarction have completely normal cholesterol levels. Malhotra, founder of Action on Sugar, also works as an adviser to the U.K.’s National Obesity Forum.

“My focus has been, ‘what can we do as individuals collectively (the medical profession) to help curb demand on the health system?’” he says. “A lot of that is being driven by diet-related diseases.

According to the Lancet Global Burden of Disease Reports, poor diets now contribute to more disease and death than physical activities — smoking and alcohol combined …

As an interventional cardiologist, we can do life-saving procedures with people who have heart attacks through heart surgery. But to be honest, rather than saving them from drowning, I’d rather they wouldn’t be thrown into the river in the first place. This is really where my focus has shifted.

I think for many of us, as clinicians moving more towards intervention, I think the realization that what we can do in medicine is really quite limited at the treatment end and actually the whole ‘prevention is better than cure’ phrase is very true.”

Hospitals and Medical Personnel Are Far From Paragons of Health

Malhotra’s epiphany that something was wrong with the system came rather early. While working as a resident in cardiology, he performed an emergency stenting procedure on a man in his 50s who’d recently suffered a heart attack.

The following morning, Malhotra spoke to the man, giving him the usual advice about quitting smoking and improving his diet.

“Just when I was telling about healthy diet, how important that was, he was actually served burger and fries by the hospital. He said to me, ‘Doctor, how do you expect me to change my lifestyle when you’re serving me the same crap that brought me in here in the first place?’”

Looking around, he realized that a lot of healthcare professionals are overweight or obese, and hospitals serve sick patients junk food. He believes one of the first things that really needs to happen is to set a good example in hospitals.  

“The hospital environment should be one that promotes good health, not exacerbates bad health,” he says. His journey began with an email to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who did a lot of work campaigning for improved food in school canteens. Malhotra asked Oliver for ideas on how to improve hospital food.

“A couple of years later, I ended up going to the

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