Is Heart Disease a Choice?

By: David Swartz

I just had the opportunity to hear a talk from the world renowned Dr. Michael Greger. For those of you that may not know, Dr Gerger is a physician, author, and the founder of a nonprofit science based website that provides articles and videos on the latest in nutrition research.

However, Dr. Greger is probably most well known for his New York Times bestselling book “How Not to Die”. During his talk he discussed in detail the main topic of his new book which in basic terms is how to prevent if not cure the main causes of death in our country. Out of the top 15 causes of mortality, it turns out that 14 out of the 15 causes we have quite a bit control over. I would like to stop for a second and mention that I’m not the one to just hear someone with social authority spew out some information and take it as fact. Dr. Greger uses science and the research to back his claims and that combination got my attention.


Take the top reason people die in United States, coronary heart disease killing an estimated 375,000 people per year. Numerous studies all point to poor diet being responsible for coronary heart disease. The only diet scientifically proven to successfully combat heart disease is a whole food plant based diet. His talk went on and discussed the next 14 causes of mortality and in every cause (except accidents) diet plays a crucial role. From cancer, kidney disease, all the way down to number 15, Parkinson’s disease, a plant based diet can prevent, stop, and many times even reverse these diseases. So, in effect most of the diseases that plague our society are in a many ways a choice not a happenstance.

After hearing his talk there was one question that came to mind, if this diet is so effective at decreasing the top 14 out of 15 reasons for mortality, why are we not hearing from all doctors to adopt this diet? Dr. Greger answered this by taking a trip back 60 years ago when smoking cigarettes was much more prevalent in our society. The vast majority of doctors at the time were not telling their patients that they should quit smoking because the vast majority of doctors were smoking themselves. In fact, there were doctors featured in ads for the tobacco companies.



Finally after more than 7000 studies, the top doctor in the country, the surgeon general, mandated that health warnings be put on cigarette packages. I ask you and your loved ones not to wait for 7000 studies to be conducted on diet and the effects is has on disease.



The science is there, the studies have been done, animal protein and animal products will promote disease and will shorten your life. Don’t you think the millions of Americans that died from diseases due to smoking wished they hadn’t waited for their doctor to tell them to quit? We have the opportunity to take our health into our own hands. I encourage you to act now and not wait until your doctor with no nutritional education tells you to change your diet. If you have the chance please read “How Not To Die” your life will most likely depend on it.


1 reply
  1. Thomas Rosenberg
    Thomas Rosenberg says:

    Thanks David. I too have had personal discussion w Dr Greger. is really good and we physicians are still basically oblivious. Med schools nothing to brag about when it comes to enlarging preventive health, empowering people and families in general and saving us all a whole heck of a lot of money, which could then go to the harvests of responsible farmers. How to reckon w the underlying economic and cultural problems also?
    BTW as a physician fully dedicated to preventive/nutrition health I have not found it generally helpful to advocate dogmatic veganism to patients and I’ve run into health problems in some of my vegan patients…although not arteriovascular disease!


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