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Diet Linked to Heart Disease Reduction During War

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."

No other population has ever seen their rates of cardiovascular disease drop like this using bypass surgery, stents, or statins

  • 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:

(1)  Sheila Lewis Chose Diet Instead of Bypass

(2)  Heart Attack Proof Yourself in 3 Weeks

(3)  Prevent-Reverse Disease With a Plant-Based Doctor

(4)  Heart Disease Starts in Childhood

(5)  Atherosclerosis Begins in Early Childhood

(6)  But I Could Never Give up Meat-Dairy!

(7)  Antioxidant-Rich Foods Dilate Arteries

(8)  Seeing is Believing!

(9)  Endothelial Cells to the Rescue!

(10)  Nathan Pritikin Shows Heart Disease is Reversible

(11)  Yes! Heart Disease Can be Reversed Using Diet!

(12)  How Bad Can Just One Meal Be?

(13)  Animal-Based Diet Turns Our Blood Fatty

(14)  The Art of Selling Slow Poisons

(15)  Heart Disease

(16)   Dr. Carney's Heart Disease Pinterest Board

Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD Links

John McDougall MD Links

John McDougall MD  |  LinkedIn  |  Wikipedia  |  VegSource  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Books  |  Videos

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Comments (7)

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

30 deaths per 10,000 people? 0.3% down to 0.24% Am I reading that right? Seems insignificant either way.

And what about a loss of calories from all sources. The Nazis probably stole some bread and potatoes as well. As well as reduced production because time and resources were diverted to wartime purposes.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hello John,
Can you tell me which page you are reading from? I am not finding the numbers you are quoting in this blog post.
Thanks, Sean

  Sean Carney
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Link to graph shows that the axis on the left is deaths per 10,000. So the drop is from 30 per 10,000 to 26 per 10,000. http://www.epi.umn.edu/cvdepi/photograph/mortality-from-circulatory-diseases-in-norway-in-1927-1948/

It's also possible that during war time, people were being killed or didn't live long enough to die from CAD.

  Wayne Martin
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The interpretation of better methods of diagnosis was considered as a possible reason for the increase leading up to the war.
You might be interested in the whole slide series discussing the history of the study of Cardiovascular Disease and giving the context of the above reference and why it is considered significant as an example of an epidemiological study/happening. The slides prior to and after this slide are really interesting and instructive.

The evidence for the connection between diet and cardiovascular disease goes all the way back to 1915!
Cheers as you continue to investigate and think critically about all the available evidence to date.

  Julia N Danforth
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Thanks for that resource Julia! Nice one! :-)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Grateful for your perspective and your hyperlink, Julia.
Thank you!
Dr. Carney

  Linda Carney MD
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