Why Arteries Get Clogged (Really)

Tell me if this sounds familiar:  “My doctor said I need to give up eggs and bacon.  I have high triglycerides and my blood pressure is rising.”  

Me:  “You eat eggs and bacon every morning?”  

Patient:  “Yes.”

Me:  “JUST eggs and bacon?”

Patient:  “No.  I eat them with a large glass of orange juice and either toast or flour tortillas.”  

Me:  “It’s not the eggs and bacon; it’s the juice and refined flour products (i.e. white tortillas and bread) that’s causing your problem.”   

In fact, your heart ‘s fat for energy.

People think it’s the cheese or the meat that causes their high triglycerides or hypertension, and their doctors (usually) agree, but I do not.  It’s the stuff you’re eating WITH the cheese, eggs, and meat that’s causing the problem.  

And the stuff you’re not eating with it (vegetables, whole grains) that leads to these circulation problems.

When you eat carbohydrates – as a general term here – the good (broccoli, quinoa, sprouted grains, carrots, etc.), the bad (white flour, white rice, pastured skim milk), and the ugly (corn syrup, pastries, sugary drinks, etc.), your body metabolizes it as sugar.  

If it doesn’t have a mother or a father, your body digests at least part of that food as a sugar.  The more fiber and other nutrients you have there, the less “sugary” it is.  

If all goes well, when you eat carbohydrates (which we do need in some quantity), your pancreas releases insulin to use the carbs for energy as glucose or to store it as glycogen in your liver and muscles for later.  

When you have too much carbs going in for too long of a period of time, this process gets messed up and your cells start to resist the insulin process.  This is the beginning of diabetes.  

Another thing that happens, is that when the glycogen reserves are met inside your liver, the glucose is then turned into triglycerides and cholesterol.  

This is the beginning of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).

When the triglycerides and cholesterol start hanging out with some proteins and fats, they have a party called a VLDL or very low density lipoprotein.  

The triglycerides are deposited along your arteries, leaving just the other things that form your LDLs.   

A good, clear artery has a microscopic layer of hairs inside of it called the glycocalyx.  You can think of it like the Teflon coating on a non-stick pan.  Usually, fats and other blood components just float right past it, no problem.  

Certain molecular structures, however, cause erosion of this lining.  So, then it’s like you’re scraping the coating off the non-stick pan.

Triglycerides do this.  They cause erosion of the glycocalyx and then they start to build up in the artery and stick to the wall; just like when you cook something in a pan and forget to put butter in it first!  

And do you remember what causes the triglycerides to grow in number in the first place?  Hint:  it’s not eggs, bacon, or butter.  (It’s too many carbohydrates!)

Once you lose the glycocalyx, problems start.  And, unfortunately, you won’t have any symptoms of arterial blockage until it’s more than 68% obscured.  At 65% blockage, you feel “fine.”  You’re probably at least 30 pounds over weight, but you think, and your doctor may think there’s nothing wrong with your heart.

Trans-fatty acids will also cause this.  This is your fried foods:  french fries, onion rings, fried Twinkies, etc.

Unfortunately, once the lining is gone it doesn’t come back – kind of like your hair line.  So if you have good arteries now, don’t push your luck; take good care of them.

I think some people think I’m crazy when I recommend a high-fat (we’re talking good fats, not trans-fats), moderate protein, low carb diet to someone with a history of heart disease.  And I say this:

Is what you’ve been doing so far giving you results?  Results like awesome blood work; you’ve met your goal weight; and your doctor doesn’t think you need the blood pressure meds any more.  

Why don’t you try it (high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate diet) for 6 months, then get your blood work redone and see if it works?  Please let me know your results!  

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4 Comments

  1. I have been doing this since last week and am already feeling better, thanks to Nicole’s advice. Even those energy and health bars are loaded with sugar. For me, switching from Kind Bars to Ezekiel bread with butter has made a huge difference in my blood sugar and mood stabilizing.

    Reply
    • Nice! I’ve done the “grain-free” thing, too, but some of us just feel better including some grains that are, of course, only the highest quality grains. Ezekiel bread, quinoa, brown rice. 1 – 2 servings per day is enough, I think.

      Reply
  2. Note for you – ok not to post! Feel free to edit if you want to post part of it. I’m not sure it has much value for your readers!

    I really enjoyed the formatting on this post. I read it on my phone during my morning constitutional, which is very efficient. The use of bold text made sure I didn’t skim over the important parts.

    Reply
  3. Would love to have a sample eating plan with list of foods in each category. Otherwise, I’m still clueless of what this looks like. I don’t eat fried food or sodas, and try to limit sugar and dairy. Other than that, I try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. The carb thing is the most confusing for me.

    Reply

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