Diet Linked to Heart Disease Reduction During War
Wartime history provides us with important information regarding the correlation between animal-based diets and morbidity-mortality rates as documented in the references below. The first reference highlights Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. He explains how deaths from coronary artery disease plummeted during World War II, from 1939-1945. The Germans confiscated all of the livestock and farm animals from the Norwegian countries to supply food for their own troops. As a result, the Norwegians were forced to eat mainly plant-based foods. Preceding this time, mortality from cardiovascular disease had been steadily climbing.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn explains: "World War II provided a graphic example of how the ravages of these diseases could be totally halted. Norway was one of several western European nations occupied by Nazi Germany during the conflict between 1939 through 1945. The Germans removed all animal livestock from these occupied countries. The native population subsisted on whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit. Almost immediately death from heart attacks and strokes in Norway plummeted. With the cessation of hostilities in 1945 animal products became available as well as an immediate return to the pre-war levels of deaths from these illnesses. It is a powerful lesson in public health about the cause and cure of our most common killer-heart disease."
- Watch Dr. Esselstyn explain this correlation here.
- These results were published in The Lancet, one of the world's leading medical journals. View the graph >"Mortality from Circulatory Diseases in Norway in 1927-1948" here or here to read more.
- The reduction in deaths from heart disease during World War II was also reported in "Circulation - Journal of the American Heart Association" here.
Dr. John McDougall also writes about the widespread food shortages that plagued the lives of people living during World War I and II in Western Europe in his article Lessons from the Past, Directions for the Future. Pork production was very low while only affluent people were able to afford to purchase beef in sufficient amounts. Following the brilliant advice from physician and nutritionist, Mikkel Hindhede, three million citizens of Denmark became starch-eaters. The bulk of their calories from meat were replaced with starchy grains and vegetables. Remarkably, during the years of the most severe food restriction (1917 to 1918) Denmark's death rate dropped by 34%; saving 6,300 lives. Death rates had never been lower.
The reduction in deaths from cardiovascular events during wartime contributes to the growing evidence that heart disease is preventable and not an inevitable processes due to aging.
For more information on reversing heart disease, click on the following links:
(15) Heart Disease
Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD Links
John McDougall MD Links