Feel Better, Live Longer

Published October 1, 2003

The Modern Nutritional Diseases:
Heart Disease, Stroke, Type-2 Diabetes, Obesity, and Cancer

by Alice Ottoboni, Ph.D. and Fred Ottoboni, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Vincente Books, Inc.
paperback, 218 pages

Without completely giving away their ages, I can testify that this dynamic duo of health science, Fred and Alice Ottoboni, have more than a century of collective experience in this field, with numerous brilliant publications to their credit. But their best work was ahead of them … and this book is it.

The Modern Nutritional Diseases culminates a three-year study of the current government-sponsored wisdom on diet, nutrition, and disease … and meticulously turns that research on its ear.

The easy prose of some of its 10 chapters make it great reading for the layman, while the precise breakdown of the body’s biochemical reactions to food intake will satisfy the true rocket scientists interested in nutrition.

It is not unusual nowadays to see family members and friends taking costly prescription drugs or being hospitalized for such illnesses as heart attack, stroke, or cancer. At the same time, a day seldom passes without some message in the news media from nutrition and government agencies advising that these same health problems can be prevented–or even cured–by a heart-healthy diet. This recommended diet severely restricts red meat, eggs, butter, and saturated fat and promotes low-fat, low-cholesterol foods plus an abundance of grain-based breads, cereals, and polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

The national education program touting the diet for heart disease prevention began about a half-century ago. The great increases in sales of low-fat, low-cholesterol, and high-carbohydrate foods and polyunsaturated vegetable oils that have resulted since then is good evidence that this public education program has been very effective. Today, millions of Americans are following this diet.

Yet national health statistics show that attack rates of cardiovascular diseases and a number of other chronic conditions, including high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, and type-2 diabetes, have been steadily increasing.

The Ottobonis’ research clearly indicates what many have long believed: that lifestyle and nutrition, not genetics or luck, are the most powerful factors affecting health and well-being. They learned that popular notions concerning the adverse health effects of dietary fats and cholesterol, which were the foundation of the heart-healthy diet, were not based on scientific facts. What they read in the popular press was not what they read in the scientific literature.

Published epidemiological, biochemical, and dietary studies did not support the idea that the heart-healthy diet prevented heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, or hypercholesterolemia.

It may please some and frustrate others to learn that a number of previous authors, who were castigated for their outspoken and commercial efforts to paddle upstream in the nutrition debate, appear to have been correct all along.

The Ottobonis praise the highly technical explanations of Barry Sears in his books Enter the Zone and The Anti-Aging Zone. His studies of the biochemistry of lipids and essential fatty acids provide the background for how macronutrients and essential fatty acids affect the body’s most important biochemical processes. His unique contribution to nutritional biochemistry has been to trace the complex biochemical relationships among proteins, fats, carbohydrates, insulin levels, and essential fatty acids and then explain how diet can both cause and prevent disease.

Similarly, they praise the late Robert Atkins’ final book, New Diet Revolution, based on his years of clinical practice treating obesity and its related diseases.

The Ottobonis’ work is not an opinion piece, but rather the scientific proof for what in our diet makes us well or unwell. You will not find any radical ideas about diet and health. Rather, you may learn that what our parents considered a healthy diet was indeed just that. The authors recommend a 40-30-30 balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, with a positive emphasis on animal protein and animal fat.

The Ottobonis are strong believers in vitamin supplementation with all conventional ingredients of your drug store’s daily vitamin packet. Plus some solid evidence that less-common reliance on a few ingredients like flaxseed oil, lecithin, MSM, and CoQ10 might really be useful to our bodies.

The information in this book should help you feel better, live longer, avoid the modern nutritional diseases, and be happier and more active as you grow older. The ideal is to keep all systems functioning well, until the point when everything wears out and fails all at once.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. is science director for The Heartland Institute and living testimony to the importance of lifestyle and nutrition to good health. At age 67, Lehr is “ramping up” his life, spending four hours a day in his own training and recently becoming a certified professional trainer of others. Lehr has completed the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon Championship in Kona nine times and has more than 1,200 skydives to his credit. He recently attempted a rim-to-rim double hike across the Grand Canyon, had to be airlifted out, and three weeks later succeeded in bicycling across the Rocky Mountains.