broccoliIt’s a common misconception that exercise buys you a ticket to eat whatever you want. According to nutrition expert Dr. Joel Fuhrman, this is dangerous logic that can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

Fuhrman says that strenuous exercise isn’t as effective at maintaining cardiac health as most people believe, and that there are major holes in the way doctors currently treat heart disease in the US.

Overlooking Alternative Choices

This was one of the subjects of Fuhrman’s best selling novel, The End of Heart Disease: The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. In the book, Fuhrman points out that surgery and prescription drugs aren’t the only way to treat or prevent heart disease, even though they are often presented as such.

Fuhrman estimates that more than 95% of all fatalities linked to heart disease could have been avoided, and that the most commonly used treatments come with serious health risks. Since doctors don’t typically provide alternative routes for controlling heart problems, patients falsely assume medications and surgery are their only choices.

According to Fuhrman, doctors are obligated to provide their patients with information about treating their heart disease through diet.

Prescriptions and Surgery Are Not Your Only Option

The End of Heart Disease stresses the importance of a “Nutritarian Diet,” which Fuhrman says can prevent and treat heart complications. He presents a three-step plan that involves:

  • Eliminating high-glycemic foods, such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, and white bread. These can spike blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.
  • Ensuring your diet includes a “full rainbow” of vegetables and an abundance of healthy fats, as in fish, nuts, olive oil, and avocados.
  • Reducing animal products as much as possible. No more than 3 servings of animal products per week is ideal, but most Americans eat closer to 21.

According to Fuhrman, “Diet is not just preventive, but therapeutic. After a short period of time – it doesn’t take years – you will see benefits.”

Those taking on the challenge of a Nutritarian Diet should be aware of the challenges they will face. Eating sugar affects the chemistry of the brain, resulting in cravings for unhealthy foods.

“People want the ice cream and cake. It’s possible for motivated people to make change, but you have to change your taste buds, which takes three to six months,” Fuhrman says.