Preventive cardiologists recommend four diets: Mediterranean, “DASH,” “healthy vegetarian,” and vegan

By William Driscoll

The “optimal” diet to prevent artery clogging, and thus avoid cardiovascular disease, consists predominantly of “fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, plant protein and fatty fish,” said 14 medical doctors and other researchers in a review article published in 2022 in the American Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

The authors said that four diets that have gained attention can meet similar guidelines that were issued in 2019: the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, a “healthy vegetarian” diet, and the exclusively plant-based, or vegan, diet.

The authors’ recommendations were based on their review of 172 research studies, and constitute a “clinical practice statement” from the American Society for Preventive Cardiology.

Read the free book on “bad” LDL cholesterol, healthy diets, statin safety, and ultrasound artery screening, at the home page:

Legumes include beans, peas and peanuts. “Seeds” is another word for grains—such as wheat seeds, from which flour is made, and foods such as rice and oatmeal.

Plant protein can provide all the amino acids your body needs, through any combination of legumes and seeds eaten in the same day, as described in the 1971 bestselling book “Diet for a Small Planet.”

The 14 co-authors recommend reducing consumption of foods containing saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, salt, and refined grain, as well as ultra-processed foods.

Foods with saturated fat include eggs, meats, whole milk, butter, and coconut oil. Dietary cholesterol is found in meats, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. The most commonly used refined grain is white flour, which is made from wheat grains after the outer bran and the “wheat germ” have been removed.

Ultra-processed food includes calorie-dense foods high in refined flour, sugar and/or fats, such as snacks, treats and many fast food and restaurant offerings. A separate study found that ultra-processed foods were the source of 58% of the calories consumed in America.

The journal article, available for free at, is titled “Practical, evidence-based approaches to nutritional modifications to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease: an American Society for Preventive Cardiology clinical practice statement.”

Preventive cardiologists aim for an LDL cholesterol level as low as 40 in appropriate patients

By William L. Driscoll

Especially if you have a family history of heart attacks and strokes, like I do, you may be familiar with LDL cholesterol. LDL is the bad kind of cholesterol that contributes to artery-clogging plaque, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke, or to mini-strokes that cause dementia.

Any LDL-cholesterol level lower than 100 is widely considered to be “optimal,” according to a standard that dates back at least to 2005.[1] Yet preventive cardiologists aim for much lower levels in appropriate patients.

Read the free book on “bad” LDL cholesterol, healthy diets, statin safety, and ultrasound artery screening, at the home page:

One preventive cardiologist, Dr. Roger Blumenthal, recently helped me lower my LDL number to 40, by prescribing a moderately high-dose statin drug.

Because my regular doctor had told me that any LDL level below 100 is optimal, I asked my cardiologist whether my new LDL level of 40, after three months on the statin, might be too low.

He said an LDL level of 40 “is ideal and levels in that range are more likely to result in modest reversal of some of the plaque buildup, as well as stabilization of the plaques throughout your body.”

An LDL level of 40 “should be considered to be physiologically ‘normal,’” said the president of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology, Dr. Peter Toth, in a journal article published in 2020.[2] The article cited research showing that the risk of coronary heart disease increases exponentially at increasing LDL levels above 40.



Carotid artery screening can save lives, so USPSTF, please revisit your analysis

By William L. Driscoll

Carotid artery screening that can identify early-stage artery-clogging is becoming far less expensive, thanks to new handheld ultrasound devices used for screening.

In a review of carotid artery screening, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made a compelling argument in favor of such screening, in a recommendation early this year.

The task force said that plaque in the carotid arteries, known to doctors as atherosclerosis, “is a manifestation of systemic atherosclerotic disease, so identifying this condition may potentially lead to changes in medical management to prevent future cardiovascular events,” such as heart attacks and strokes.

Read the free book on “bad” LDL cholesterol, healthy diets, statin safety, and ultrasound artery screening, at the home page:

Regrettably, although the USPSTF saw that carotid artery screening could save lives, by helping prevent heart attacks and strokes, it advised against widespread carotid artery screening. That’s because preventing deaths through changes in medical management, such as statin therapy, was “outside the scope” of its review, the USPSTF said.

It’s time for the USPSTF to take another look, as many in the medical community trust its recommendations. Costs for ultrasound carotid artery screening have come down, thanks to new handheld ultrasound devices from GE, Philips and Butterfly Network. Meanwhile, more patients with early signs of artery-clogging are turning to preventive cardiologists to help them aggressively lower their LDL (bad) cholesterol to stop further artery-clogging, or even reverse it, and so prevent heart attacks and strokes.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of 16 national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine. Task force members are appointed to four-year terms by the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The current USPSTF recommendation is titled “Asymptomatic Carotid Artery Stenosis: Screening.”