This week, I thought I’d share a cartoon. When I saw it initially, it made me chuckle. But when I thought about it, I realized that it’s a pretty good illustration of where we are in cardiovascular care and medicine in general.
Many of the treatments we use – from cholesterol lowering medications to stents and bypass surgery – address the symptoms rather than the cause of disease. We are spending all our time mopping the floor instead of turning off the water.
And that’s exactly why we founded Step One Foods. To help people turn the tap off themselves.
You may be wondering why we formulated our foods the way we did. Based on 300 scientific studies, we created the Step One Building Blocks of Heart Health, a scientific metric that sets the levels of plant sterols, fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that go into every serving.
On average two servings of Step One Foods, the recommended daily intake, supply the following nutrients:
- 13 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids
- 2 grams of plant sterols
- 5000 µmol antioxidants
At these nutrient levels measurable effects are seen on the cardiovascular system. In fact, when these nutrients come from food, the effects can be profound:
- Each 10 g/day increase in dietary fiber intake is associated with 14% decrease in risk of heart attack and a 24% decrease in the risk of death from heart disease.
- Each 1 g increase in plant-based omega-3 intake is associated with a 16% reduction in the risk of developing heart disease.
- Eating one extra serving of fruits or vegetables (the main carriers of antioxidants) daily is associated with a 4% decrease in the risk of heart disease and 6% decrease in the risk of stroke
- Consuming 1 gram of plant sterols twice per day with food can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10-15%.(1-8)
If those look like the sort of statistics you might hear about the latest research on the latest drug that’s hailed as the latest advancement, you’d be correct. It turns out food CAN be as impactful as medications.
Mozaffarian D, Ascherio A, Hu FB, et al. Interplay between different polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease in men. Circulation. 2005;111(2):157-164.
2. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, et al. Dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease among women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;69(5):890-897.
3. Mozaffarian D. Does alpha-linolenic acid intake reduce the risk of coronary heart disease? A review of the evidence. Altern Ther Health Med. 2005;11(3):24-30
4. Pereira MA, O’Reilly E, Augustsson K, et al. Dietary fiber and risk of coronary heart disease: a pooled analysis of cohort studies. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(4):370-376
5. Lupton JR, Turner ND. Dietary fiber and coronary disease: does the evidence support an association? Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2003;5(6):500-505.
6. Lock K, Pomerleau J, Causer L, Altmann DR, McKee M. The global burden of disease attributable to low consumption of fruit and vegetables: implications for the global strategy on diet. Bull World Health Organ. 2005;83(2):100-108.
7. Plat J, Mensink RP. Plant stanol and sterol esters in the control of blood cholesterol levels: mechanism and safety aspects. Am J Cardiol. 2005;96(1 Suppl):15-22.
8. Jenkins DJA, Kendall CWC, Marchie A, FaulknerDA, et al. Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with a statin in hypercholesterolemic participants. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:380-7