August 25th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Gupta: Becoming heart attack proof

Editor's note: Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: The Last Heart Attack at 8p and 11p ET on Saturday, September 3rd.

While working on “The Last Heart Attack,” I had a chance to interview some extraordinary people around the country. Patients struggling with heart disease provided lessons that can sometimes be taught only after being smacked in the face with their own mortality. For example, I have never seen former President Clinton so candid. He was convinced he was going to die back in 2004, after feeling chest tightness during a flight back to New York on a small plane.

I interviewed cardiologists who believe we are so darn close to virtually eliminating heart disease. And, the truth is, it doesn’t involve spending any more money, investing in any more research or creating anymore tests. Rather, it will take a strict implementation of what we already know about diet and nutrition. It will also take brave champions to navigate through the clutter of confusing counsel, special interests and shoddy science.

One day, I had a chance to speak to a couple of those champions candidly while waiting for a shoot to begin - Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and  T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.  I had read Campbell’s book, "The China Study," years ago and remember how audacious he was in telling readers that most of what they believed about food and its relationship to health and disease was plain wrong. His findings changed the way people all over the world eat, including me.

And, I will admit, while I had trained my whole life to treat disease after it developed, I wasn’t medically trained in nutrition to be able to help prevent some of these diseases in the first place. Most of what I have learned has been on my own, since leaving medical school, and I think that is true for many doctors of my generation.

Simply put, Campbell’s research team found people who ate the most animal-based foods also had the most chronic disease. As important, people who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest. Campbell went on to describe the specific connections between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes and cancer. He also wrote of the ability to use nutrition to reverse these conditions – something that can start at almost any age.

Esselstyn took it a step further. “Sanjay, we want to make you heart attack proof.” Pretty audacious, I thought, but I couldn’t help but be engaged by this Cleveland Clinic surgeon, who was now devoting his life to preventing the diseases he made a living treating.“We are never going to end the epidemic of heart disease with stents, bypasses and medications,” he told me. That was music to my ears, because I didn’t want any of those things. Of course, it would involve essentially eliminating meat, dairy, eggs and oil – even olive oil. “Nothing with a mother, and nothing with a face,” the good doctor added.

Honestly, over the years, I have practiced the adage “eat to live,” not “live to eat.” Still, I knew it was going to be tough to carry out what he was asking. I started with a practical question for him. He was on the road traveling, and I was curious what he ate. “Thai food is always a good bet,” he told me. Sharon Kintz, who is a 66-year-old heart patient, joined me in Times Square to prove she could find a meal that satisfied her vegan requirements. Even former President Clinton says he is a vegan nowadays, and doesn’t at all miss the fast food for which he was once famous.

Virtually eliminating heart disease – it can be done, and truth is, we have known for a very long time how to do it. People have said to me as I was preparing this documentary – “Sanjay, you are advocating a radical change to the way we eat.” Perhaps, but if you really think about it, the way we eat now is in fact more radical. And when we look back on this time, a couple of hundred years from now, I guarantee you that our diet of today will be considered one of the most radical in history.

If we collectively ever want to get to the point where we have “The Last Heart Attack,” a good start would be to stop ignoring what we already know to be true.

soundoff (1,186 Responses)
  1. bob kelso

    Correction. My heart attack was in 2002, not 1992.

    August 29, 2011 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • teresa


      October 17, 2011 at 22:04 | Report abuse |
  2. Cathy Fleischmann

    I watched The Last Heart Attack last night with great satisfaction that CNN was bold and progressive enough to air this information in the face of the meat, dairy and pharmaceutical advertisers. This information is radical in the eyes of most of the public, but we need to wake up to the fact that open heart surgery is radical and costing us more than we can afford. I changed my diet voluntarily to a plant based diet 13 years ago at the age of 40 after reading John Robbins's "The Food Revolution". I realized several years later, from Dr. Joel Furhman's work – "Eat To Live" and "Eat For Health"that it is not so much a plant based diet that is the key, but how much nutrient dense foods I consume. If this information became more well known and governments encouraged and spent more money on preventative health, maybe we could start to turn around both the health of the public but also the health of governments ($$$).

    August 29, 2011 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sharon Vincent

      My doctoral research project is on reduction of heart failure readmissions. I am fascinated that this was aired by a respected physician. Our country could turn around our hearts and our finances if this were taken seriously. Increasing obesity and hypertension rates are proof of what we eat. Lack of reimbursement in hospitals will not wake up the patients who are abusing their bodies. We will need legislation on key issues. Reduction of reimbursement for repeated admissions is a start, but just a start. Longterm effects may take too long to help our country.

      September 7, 2011 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
    • Mary Smith

      I would appreciate commentary and discussions of this type of diet to include some recognition of the large number of people who are unable to tolerate it. Discussions of the "heart attack proof" diet contain no warnings for those with celiac disease nor for the many people have a sensitivity to gluten. Can we have more science and less fervour, please?

      September 7, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
  3. Margaret

    The news coverage of Irene pre-empted this special. Will it be aired again? I'd love to see it.

    August 29, 2011 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Denise

      Yea, the war news kept me from viewing this too. I hope they reair it cause I was wanting to see what it took to become heartattck free. I might just do it but I can't without seeing what I need to do. I wanted more infor in the Vegan stuff. I guess I could google it tho.

      August 29, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • Mary Ellen Hood

      i'm asking the same question, Margaret. I too want to watch this.

      August 31, 2011 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • Angel

      You can watch it online. http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/podcasts/gupta/site/2011/08/29/sgmd.last.heart.attack.cnn

      August 31, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
  4. Kat

    So many people suffer with diet-related disease (and die prematurely), yet will not change their diets and seek pharmacueticals and surgical intervention to manage their disease. It is too difficult for these people to turn away from the diet of the status quo, and too easy to pull up to the fast-food drive thru and pop a pill, rather than making a lifestyle change. I think that all of society needs to wake up, take action, and change, for the betterment of all. I applaud Dr. Gupta and all those involved with this special. I hope to see more of these (specials and news coverage). I changed to a plant-based diet a few years back and my health has improved a hundred fold. And I am so sad to see all those who suffer and struggle, knowing that it doesn't have to be this way. As a society we need to take the bold step forward and change what we eat in a DRASTIC WAY. And for all those who insist that they wouldn't enjoy eating "rabbit food," well, don't knock it 'til you've tried it... you will get used to new foods and dishes, and you will feel SO MUCH BETTER!!

    August 29, 2011 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mario

    (Editor's note: Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: The Last Heart Attack at 8p and 11p ET on Saturday, September 3rd.)
    This is at the top of the article, but it's dated 8/25 so I'm not sure it's accurate because as far as I knew, it was not to be shown this week because of Irene. I do hope they show it again, as I've been waiting two weeks for this and missed it last night. I've begun such a diet already, and want my family and friends to see it to help them understand why.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Ken Smith

    I think we all know of someone, and perhaps several, people that have had heart attacks, surgery, stints, etc. and they seem to have no problem getting used to a healthy diet at that point. A wise person learns from his mistakes... a wiser man learns from someone elses. I plan to pretend I have already had the event, and let that guide my change.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. patricia hill

    great show dr.sunjay gupta just had open heart at orlando regional june23/2011 artificial mvp (mitral valve replaced)
    very little info available I am a 25 yr vegetarian 57 yrs old fit working woman let me know pros and
    more about carbomedics .........MVP........plz advz of heart valve replacement...prognosis thank you

    August 29, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kevin Lin

    I wouldn't agree going on a COMPLETELY vegetarian diet....honestly, any meats, eggs, or dairy should be of good quality and supported in a diet with a LOT of vegetables and fruits....people with heart disease who claim their problems were from meat and dairy...they should probably consider what they were eating WITH it (ex. refined carbohydrates and too much starch in one meal)

    August 29, 2011 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kimberly

      Heart attacks are caused by arterial blockages. Arterial blockages come from cholesterol build up. Cholesterol is only found in meat and dairy products. Get rid of meat and dairy, get rid of the cholesterol, get rid of the heart problems. You don't get blockages from carbs.

      August 29, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      my former naturopathic doc who WAS also a vegan for over 40 years advised me after significant testing that I should once again eat meat. quality meat, quality eggs and nothing IN EXCESS and not to eat meat daily. He himself incorporated meat back into his diet after significant testing found that he was lacking essential minerals, nutrients and other things from his diet that he normally would receive eating meat, and he WAS taking sufficient supplements.

      September 2, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
  9. Ranveig Elvebakk, MD

    Heart attack proof? Yes sirs! Ask any eskimo before we took over their lifestyle. Ask any inhabitant of Kitawa, Melanesia. Dr Staffan Lndberg did. Their average fasting insulin is 7.3 ulU/ml and they are heart-disease free.This is not a question for a guru in India, it is a biochemical question, and should be answered so that people can understand how to help themselves without having to subscribe to extremes and fad diets such as vegetarianism and other isms that are deprivational and conducive to deficiencies.
    Ranveig Elvebakk, MD Author of "The Food Tree" and "A New Disease Model"

    August 29, 2011 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andre Malkovich

      eskimos don't eat the same meat. they eat wild, not factory farmed. BIG difference. a number of people up north say (I'm from the Yukon) if they wouldn't be able to hunt, they would be vegetarian.
      the debate goes back a long time. Pythagoras, Socrates, and others were vegetarians. so it is not a fad 🙂

      August 29, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
  10. John

    Does anyone know or recall if the actual diet that President Clinton follows has a name?

    August 29, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kathy cromwell

      Vegan.. Dr. Carl Esstylans (sp?) book is the diet he follows.

      August 29, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
    • TC

      Bill Clinton follows a vegan diet. No fad, no name. A vegan diet contains no animal products.

      August 29, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
    • stephanie

      Google Dean Ornish and you will see his books. That is who he is basically following. Also look at http://www.vegsource.com http://www.veganweighdown.com.

      August 30, 2011 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      President Clinton, many others, and I eat a whole foods, plant based, no added oil diet. Strictly speaking vegans do not eat or use any animal-based products (i.e. leather shoes). Some vegans eat a very highly processed, high fat diet, and would probably not get the same benefits Dr. Esselstyn espouses. Whole Foods is promoting their Health Starts Here program and will be opening Wellness Centers to help educate people to eat this way. Check it out on their website: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/healthstartshere

      August 31, 2011 at 01:09 | Report abuse |
    • UncleDavid

      The President and I used to do the Meal Deal Number 3 at McDonalds on a regular basis. Same song,same dance,same procedure for me last year.
      I am a vegetarian now, but I still eat some eggs and a little milk from time to time. My body just doesn't handle what I
      now term "flesh". That's what it is – flesh. Its dead and I almost died from my sorry diet. I really believe that meat consumption will take some years from me.

      August 31, 2011 at 01:41 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Dr Esselstyn's book is Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease pub. by Avery. The book has a food guide and 150 simple recipes from breakfast through the day to dessert, also shopping guide, helpful websites, product mfrs. I got my copy for $10 through Amazon. I feel it's all a person needs to get started on the road to good health.

      August 31, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • Kara

      It's a low fat vegan diet. Dr. John McDougall and his wife have written many books on the subject–as well as cookbooks–going back 30+ years. I highly recommend any of his McDougall cookbooks. One of them, from the early 90s I think, was a 10 or 14 day plan which can show you just how easy it is–and livable. The milk alternatives these days–almond (refrigerated kind like Silk), coconut (although not low fat), soy, etc.–and other vegan options are so much better tasting then they were back then. Easy to do and implement–although to be honest, I don't believe one needs to go no oil. Nuts and oils are healthful IMHO.

      September 12, 2011 at 21:47 | Report abuse |
  11. Rox

    All you people are so ready to jump onboard this new fad. The real agenda of Gupta and CNN seems to be the "green bandwagon." I doubt Gupta, nor CNN, care a rat's pututti about heartattacks in the general population. The less meat, poultry, fish, dairy and oil we consume, the more farmers of all sorts will be put out of business. This would make the "greens" very happy. I'd be very interested in the incidence of diabetes in this same study group that Gupta touted since I'm to assume the study group consumed inordinate amounts of whole grain pasta, breads and other assorted carbs.

    August 29, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • vshirah

      I missed the show you all saw, but I can tell you from my experiences on a juice fast of fruits and veggies for the past 35 days, my insulin intake has lowered from 120-140 units daily, to 2 units every couple of days, and even then, I believe I don't necessarily NEED to take a shot, but do it anyway. I plan to continue solely juicing for another 25 days at least, and may continue indefinitely, but adding a little food to my diet as well. This has made a believer out of me ...

      August 29, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      For more infomation, check out the book The China Study!

      August 29, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • TC

      Farmers will not go out of business; they may divert to growing veggies and fruit, of which there's currently not enough in raw form for each of us to each three servings a day because our culture favors other, less healthy options.

      August 29, 2011 at 21:02 | Report abuse |
    • csr

      Rox –
      Farmers will no be put out of business. They will simply need to adapt to the growing demand and switch to vegetable/fruit farming instead of raising cattle. Businesses in every industry need to adapt with the change in demand. This is part of the free economy.

      And this is not a fad. This is a diet/lifestyle change based on science. Read the books. It's pretty difficult to refute. In fact, I have yet to see anyone against the diet provide any studies that generate results contrary to what is stated in the books. The reality is there is huge money in meat and dairy industries. The USDA is staffed with at least 95% of upper management from that industry or strongly tied to that industry. As a result, the public will have a hard time hearing about the science and health benefits of this type of diet.

      August 30, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
    • stephanie

      Go to http://www.pcrm.org and http://www.vegsource.com and you will see testimonials of people who were diabetics and reversed it on a proper vegan diet. It is not a fad for those who have been adhering to this lifestyle for over a decade and improving in health. . Watch "Knife Over Forks" and see what you think. Dr. Esselstyn has another film out I am sure if you google it you will be able to watch on Infinity and netflix.

      August 30, 2011 at 21:27 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Read this book: Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. It describes virtually the same diet as Esselstyn.

      August 31, 2011 at 01:14 | Report abuse |
    • UncleDavid

      Must everyone who thinks differently than you have a sinister agenda? You forgot to use the 'L' word. You know, LIBERAL.
      Hurry up and hit that drive-thru and grab a Number 2.

      August 31, 2011 at 01:46 | Report abuse |
    • lee's wife

      my husband is diabetic, celiac, lactose intolerant and just recently had a heart attack causing us to switch to a plant based diet. this plant based diet has very little carbs in it as my husband's blood sugars can attest. this diet can change a person's life. and if someone does choose to eat meat products be educated about sustainable farming practices. choose grass fed, free range, cage free whenever possible.

      September 3, 2011 at 06:09 | Report abuse |
    • denise

      The average omnis diet is quite high in processed carbs. Esselstyn diet contain only whole grains, and not in high amounts.
      BTW, as mentioned elsewhere, saying you're vegan (or omnivore) says nothing about the health of your diet.
      I personally know a man who had been given last rites after open heart surgery, stints, bypass.. and type 2 diabetic. He's been following Esselstyns diet for just over a year and has reversed his problems. This is real.

      September 4, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • David Raleigh

      Dr. Neal Barnard has written a book on the effectiveness of a vegan diet in preventing and reversing diabetes, which is largely CAUSED by the Standard American Diet. And Dr. Joel Fuhrman discusses this issue at length in his book "Eat to Live".

      November 25, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
  12. Donna N.

    I was at the gym last night doing my cardio workout when I caught the broadcast. Excellent presentation! The only missing element for me was perhaps some info on where/how much you need to get your proteins from a plant-based diet. I read Dr. Esselstyn's book several years ago so I guess I'll need to pick it up again to research the answer to this question.
    I'm not sure I want to give up my Greek yogurt or healthy oils so I probably will modify my diet a bit more to make sure I am getting as much protein as I can from plants while enjoying all the healthy bounty of this earth.

    Trying to keep on ticking (heart) without taking a licking(heart attack).

    August 29, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kimberly

      Where do the animals we eat get their proteins from? Plants. Yes, that HUGE cow does not eat meat or consume dairy. It gets it's protein from grass and corn (even though it was not meant to eat corn.) I am a vegetarian, close to vegan, and get more than my RDA of protein per day. I eat a lot of beans, whole grains, nuts, and veggies. I have an extremely varied diet. I eat a much larger variety than when I was omni. I eat a limited amount of soy products and fake meats b/c I am not too fond of them. I occasionally consume a milk product. Protein is not hard. Protein deficiency is very, very rare in the U.S.

      August 29, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • TC

      A well-rounded diet and pairing veggies with grains or grains and legumes will give you adequate protein. You will feel satisfied if you eat things in the right proportions. The typical American diet (with lots of meat and dairy) provides too much protein.

      August 29, 2011 at 21:05 | Report abuse |
    • csr

      Dr. Campbell noted that most Americans consume far more protein than is necessary. Regardless, if you eat a diet that include a wide variety of different colored fruits/veggies and a add in a portion of rice/legumes/pasta, you'll get all the protein you need. If you're still concerned, quinoa is a fantastic grain that you can use in place of rice. It has a something like 17 grams of protein per cup (I'm going off memory, so don't quote me on the exact serving size). I've been a vegetarian for 10 years and a vegan for 7. When my ex and I compared our blood results, my protein count was higher than his. He eats a typical American diet – heavy on the meat and potatoes.

      August 30, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • lee's wife

      beans quinoa and more beans--that's your protien

      September 3, 2011 at 06:11 | Report abuse |
  13. Thor

    Well.... my grandpa ... and all before him, ate beef meat, pork meat, white rice, drank a lot of coffee, a couple of glasses of red wine, every single day. Grandma's receipes always started with a stick of butter, topped with whole milk, and add sugar. Grandpa lived till he was 97. He was a dentist till 95. He had no heart ailments other than the broken heart from which he died when grandma died. I hope to live the same. Key word.... live.

    August 29, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kimberly

      An isolated case or two doesn't prove anything. But, I am also sure that your grandpa worked much harder, ate smaller portions, watched less TV, and consumed way more fruits and veggies than we do now. Remember just b/c a small percentage of the population seems to be heart attack proof, doesn't make it so for everyone.

      I also find it sad that people think that eating absolute garbage and sitting on their butts all day is living. So, so sad.

      August 29, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
    • Patricia Fornera

      people and animals were a lot healthier in our grandparents time; now animals are filled with antibiotics and estrogens and God knows what other contamination; they live in horrible conditions and they suffer and that is why their meat is plenty of toxins; there is no comparison between what our granparents ate and we we eat today, that is why we are all sick.

      August 29, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
    • UncleDavid

      Yeah, I have some relatives who used lard,butter, fried the hell out of everything. They had meat almost every meal. My great-grandmother made a pan of huge biscuits, with lard and fried salt port for breakfast every morning. She was dead at 62 from a series of heart attacks. The list goes on and on. Here is the South we eat very well. I live in French Louisiana, and very,very few of us miss a meal. I have had to radically change that,for at 56 I had a single artery by-pass. I no longer eat meat and I can't tell you how long its been since I had something fried. I eat beans for protein and lots of salads and vegetables but I have a couple of eggs and about 3 tbls of milk in my 1/2 cup of coffee every morning.

      I'm trying to outlive my neighbor next door. He's an embalmer.

      September 1, 2011 at 07:00 | Report abuse |
    • Sci1

      My families also lived into their 100's eating meats and vegetables and deserts. They had no idea what whole-grain meant. They ate regular meals, not super-sized. It's life-style...there is NO single cure for all diseases. For everyone preaching healthy vegetables, I would like to know how you are all so sure that your vegetables and fruits aren't contaminated. The concept of organic is a great one, but the the farm next door to your organic vegetable plot might just be contaminating your organic garden. Bee's and birds that pollinate don't discriminate between the two. I've worked in pesticides and toxicology for many years and I assure you, it is difficult to separate the two.

      September 1, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • Judy

      Great! Just be sure you inherited the exact gene structure. I ate what my Mom fed me, the diet was similiar to what you describe. She is 85 and in great health. I have had a heart attack at 57. Guess I have more of my father's metabolism and genes.

      September 4, 2011 at 20:46 | Report abuse |
  14. Thor

    Wow, seems that there are a LOT of scientists out there judging by the remarks on this board. Thank you guys and gals for being so very much smarter than the rest of us dumb Americans. By the way, I didn't catch it, did someone happen to mention the exact numbers of people who make it ... hmm let's say... up to about 75 years old, who have NEVER had a heart attack, and still eat regular American food? Oh! Wait! I think maybe someone might have said that they had scientific research that shows that one hundred percent of the people who have eaten red meat regularly or... non-vegan or non-vegetarian diets.... have all died from heart attacks, diabetes, etc.... If some of you "smarter-than-everybody-else' people would reproduce those results in some VALID scientific studies, I would greatly appreciate it, because, my poor dumb red-meat-eating self can't seem to find it! By the way, if you want to find me, I'll be one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans doing a butt ton of physical labor keeping my body in shape and not developing a pot belly or cottage cheese thighs.......!

    August 29, 2011 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kimberly

      Read the China Study (book.) it's the largest dietary study ever done and is very valid. It reinforces all of this information.

      August 29, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • csr

      ACtually, I'd like to ask you the opposite. Can you point me a large (or at least statistically valid) study that proves eating a diet with more than 10% of the food comes from animals is healthier than eating a plant-based diet?

      The China Study has generated substantial, scientifically proven results on the link between diet and health. I have yet to see any similar study refute the results.

      August 30, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • David Raleigh

      Sorry you seem to have fallen for the idea that being a tough guy is incompatible with being a vegan or respecting science. The new video "Forks Over Knives" tells the whole story in a nutshell, including some words from some very tough guys who make the point that exercise alone is not enough.

      November 25, 2011 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
  15. Claude Van Hook

    Your show on heart attacks said no oil. Would this include olive oil? If so, please explain how this omega 3 can be a problem. Thank you.

    August 29, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan

      In Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr Esselstyn on p. 84 the book states that between 14-17% of olive oil is saturated, artery clogging fat, no different than roast beef fat. I must say that now that we have given up the extra virgin olive oil for the past 3 months, the craving has gone, and we feel that the natural fat which is found in all whole fruits and vegetables is what our bodies were actually calling for. I realized washing the dishes the other day how "clean" this diet is compared to many years ago when we ate meat and had a kitchen and dishes coated in grease (and the arteries that went with it?). I now think it's as simple as that!

      August 31, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
  16. Vegan

    I am slightly concerned with the message broadcasted yesterday abt the vegan diet being so healthy. I have been a vegan past 3 years and I love it ...but I have to Admit to these dangers to ur health it will bring. I was a week ago tested for my B12 and iron level and they were one third lower than normal. I was shocked with this and now am on supplements. I wanted to bring up this very important point to be considered by the doctor at CNN to also make aware the viewer .. and to those who might consider this diet to add supplements, otherwise i would say its a careless message broadcasted by the network .

    August 29, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kimberly

      I used to be an omni and my b12 and iron were low when I ate meat. Low b12 and iron don't only come from being vegan.

      August 29, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy cromwell

      I have been Veg for twenty five years. Starting to stop dairy. Sleep better,feel better and am happier. Now, one must enjoy planning,shopping and cooking to eat healthy. It is a great way to live. AND.... the animals that are factory farmed, raised in a barn, never seeing sun or grass, are not good for you. Steroids, antibiotics, stress and keeping them from moving is just not right.

      August 29, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • TC

      There are many ways to eat as a vegan. I know junk-food vegans who care more about not eating animal products than eating for their health. If you are eating a very healthful diet with whole foods you may do well. To get B12 I sprinkle nutritional yeast on my stovetop popcorn. (Yum.) Iron's not an issue as I eat lots of leafy greens. I try to make every calorie count.

      August 29, 2011 at 21:10 | Report abuse |
    • stephanie

      Information is the key. Anyone who is on a proper vegan diet must I repeat must be on B12 supplements. There is no way around this.

      August 30, 2011 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
  17. Junior Ranger

    WOW, I cannot believe that MainStreamMedia actually aired this show. Make sure to record it because it won't be re-played once AMA and Big Pharma hear about it (remember the 60 Mins episode about mercury fillings in the early 90s that never aired again). Too bad Sanjay didn't have the guts to go up against Big Pharma with the lies regarding cholest lower meds, vaccinations, or everything else they're trying to sell us. If you want real news: NaturalNews.com.

    August 29, 2011 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RMunkee

    2 weeks ago I set up my DVR to record the program, and it was ALL – 4 time periods, pre-empted by the Libyan events. So, this week I set my DVR again, and when I just checked – only one time period – IT was pre-empted by Irene coverage. Obviously, I got zilch, for my efforts. Is this program online, perhaps on demand? I hope!

    August 29, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Make better choices America

    We have been given a lot of gifts on this earth. High fructose corn syrup and corn fed cows are not of those gifts. I cannot understand the logic of those who wish our country to continue the path it is on....How is it we aren't caring more for our children and how they are eating? Never before on this planet has there been unhealthier children! This is preventable! How could we expect to have any health care coverage for Americans when we can't take responsibility for our own actions? This is preventable! Our grandparents didn't live this way and are appalled what they see us put in our mouths. This is preventable! It is hyper processed trash. This is preventable! America needs to be de-toxed. Start now. Feel and look better. Don't perpetuate the cycle of unhealthy living. Quit denying yourself a better life and healthier planet!

    August 29, 2011 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Doug Heintz

    I'm 60 years old and had a successful six vessel by-pass surgery just over two years ago (8/09). I had no heart attack, no heart damage, no symptoms whatsoever and only learned of my blockages through an extenesive executive physical examination. I learned of Dr. Esselstyn's program when I read his book, "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" sometime after my surgery.. As a result of reading his book, I spoke with him on the phone and immediately adopted his eating plan (1/10/10). I now feel and look better than when I was forty. Presently running 25-35 miles a week and strength training twice per week. I won the mens's age 60 and up division of the San Antonio Cystic Fibrosis Tower of Americas Run and Climb (2/11), completed the Utica, NY Boilermaker 15K (7/10/11) and am presently training for the San Antonio Rock n' Roll half marathon (11/13/11). I am also speaking at every chance I get to anyone or any group who will listen about adopting Dr. Esselstyn's heart attack proof eating program. Many more terrific things to say about the amazing results of his program including phenomenal blood work on every cardiologist (who doesn't buy into what I'm doing) report. I failed to mention that I lost my dad to CVD at age 49 and mother at age 61. Many people look at what they may have to give up but, just the opposite it true, it's all about what you gain!

    August 29, 2011 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Denny Reid

    I started this way of eating on Oct. 22, 2010. For all practical purposes I was a slug because I could not get enough energy to do anything. In 7 mo. and 11 days I lost 70 lbs and reached my goal of 180 lbs. I have since leveled off about 173 lbs. and FEEL ABSOULOTELY great. I worked 8 hrs. on a rental house doing HARD work last week and then came home and weed eated for 2 more hours. Dr. Esselstyn saved my life and improved the Quality back 20 years. 6 heart attacks, 5 bypasses, 12 stents, 4 cats last 2 telling me virtually to go home and die. I can die from many things but it will not be a heart attack NOW. Dr. Gupta you made a wise decision. OH, I went from size 38 in.tight, tight, to a loose 30 in waist

    August 29, 2011 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Steve

    T. Colin Campbell's book "The China Study" makes so many blatantly false claims that I would call it "fraudulent".

    Most importantly, it misrepresents the publicly available data from the real China Study. Anyone who takes the time to look at the data can see that the largest association between food and death in China is...

    ...wheat. Yes, that "heart-healthy whole grain" we're all told to eat more of (while America becomes fatter, more diabetic, and more unhealthy). Meat consumption in China, contrary to Campbell's assertions, is actually associated with slightly longer lifespan!

    Google "china study Denise Minger" if you want to see an exhaustive analysis of the China Study statistics, and what they REALLY say.

    I know I'm using strong language here, but Campbell is misleading thousands of people into making poor health choices by misrepresenting scientific data.

    August 29, 2011 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Angel

      Google Denise Minger alone and you'll find she has no actual qualifications to refute the study, and you'll also find that Campbell very tidily responded to her. The China Study is only one piece of the puzzle, too–work done by Ornish, Fuhrnan, Esselstyn, Barnard, and McDougall all show the same basic results. Campbell's focus was more on cancer in the China Study, not heart disease. Look at the bigger picture and the peer reviewed studies.

      August 29, 2011 at 22:26 | Report abuse |
    • Sue Donym

      Agreed. I'm a scientest who has read China Study and related work. China Study is very flawed and controversial. See the critical comments on Amazon that cite studies and explain the science. Of course the critical comemnts are overwhelmed by the vegan cheerleaders – some of whom we see here. But the majority does not rule when it comes to health and science.

      Shame on you, Sanjay, for presenting a one-sided story on a very controversial and complex topic. Some may benefit from seeing the show, some will be misled and harmed. Your oath is to cause no harm.

      September 3, 2011 at 22:51 | Report abuse |
    • Angel

      So, as a scientist, you give more credence to Amazon reviews of a book than you do to the many peer reviewed journals in the medical field that support Campbell?

      September 6, 2011 at 20:58 | Report abuse |
  23. Scott

    I've been a vegan for over a year now, greatest decision I ever made after researching it for 2 years. I read and studied the same journals, research papers etc. that these guys looked over too or did themselves. I do recommend vegans not throw this lifestyle on to people though, it's a bit like religion when the topic comes up. Let people live the lives they want and don't judge. It will catch on eventually as we start to grow more and live much healthier/longer.

    August 30, 2011 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. JanR

    I noticed heavy McDonald's advertising leading up to this show being aired. CNN has paid advertisers and one of them is McDonalds. When you drive by a McD's and see " 20 McNuggets for $4.99" you have to know that this is one of the problems we face....it is way way cheaper to buy that then it is to make a fresh salad and have fresh fruits and veggies in our refrigerators all the time. Good food, good eating is more expensive than quickie food. I wish he would have covered that – but his sponsors...McDonalds' would have pulled their ads.....so there you go!

    August 30, 2011 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan

      We've have actually found it is cheaper to eat fresh fruits and vegetables when you factor in the medical costs inevitably incurred with eating the Standard American Diet. We aren't on blood psi meds, statins, missing time from work and going to Drs because of joint problems, which is what we see our colleagues spending money on. We spend money on fresh food and feel great and have energy after eating them...not tiredness and indigestion from greasy, sugary processed or fast foods. We made the change 7 years ago, each lost 40 pounds which have never gone back on, and we say congratulations to Bill Clinton and Dr Gupta for telling it like it is.

      August 31, 2011 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
  25. Keith

    There is a dark side to vegan diets that people should be aware of. The heart is a muscle that needs energy. If it does not receive the vital nutrients of taurine and carnitine, lower ejection fractions and ultimately heart failure can result. Many studies have shown this. Taurine comes primarily from dairy and carnitine comes from red meat. If you do not eat dairy or red meat you are missing out on the key components of protein that keep your heart muscle strong. This is not to say that you should overdo it on dairy and red meat, only that you should not eliminate it from your diet all together.

    August 30, 2011 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • denise

      You're thinking of carnivores. The human body formulates both taurine and carnitine as long as it gets adequete protein-adequete, not the excess most omnis get!
      This is why cats should not be on vegan diets-they are carnivours, and cannot formulate taurine or carnitine.

      September 4, 2011 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  26. Ralph Snyderman, MD

    Hats off to Drs. Gupta, Ornish and Esselstyn for their contributions to the prevention of heart attacks as shown in the CNN special, "The Last Heart Attack." It is critical to inform the public about the important role each of us plays in preventing diseases to which we may be susceptible. Most chronic diseases are preventable but people must understand and value their role in maintaining their health and minimizing disease. The CNN presentation is a big first step in helping to bring this about.


    August 30, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Jan

    I've been a vegetarian for 56 years (vegan last two years) and have never had to spend a day in the hospital. Well, one time I went to the emergency room with heart attack symptoms–turned out to be acid reflux from pigging out on salsa.

    August 30, 2011 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. kathy

    I would be really interested in a follow-up of the impact on the economy if everyone miraculously actually followed up on this advice. It seems to me that for this to take root, our society would need a significant restructuring. It would be interesting to see an economic analysis on top of the medical.

    August 31, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Mike Philpot

    The concept seems to make sense. That said ... what about Omega 3 rich wild salmon? Hasn't there been study and study that this specific kind of fish is heart healthy? What about walnuts? Olive oil?

    September 4, 2011 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • denise

      Fish are high in omega 3 dha because they eat the higher source of omega3 dha from algea. Mercury free, I may add.
      Walnuts are a great food, but this diet is focused on those with cardio issues, where any oil is detrimental. If you don't have existing heart problems, nuts are good.

      September 4, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • wildwestheartattack victim

      As we get better at research new facts emerge. Never before di a scientist with Dr. Esselstyn's credentials show angiogram pictures of the channel in an artery getting wider with months of his oil, meat and dairy free diet. I.m with it and feel so good the past three weeks.

      September 10, 2011 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
  30. Karen

    Thank you Sanjaya! I was cheering as I watched the show! Switching to a vegan diet has made a significant impact on my health in so many ways! I'll add just one thing. For those of you exploring a change to a vegan diet, look for a Food for Life program near you. Dr. Barnard started this program to show people how to cook for a plant-based diet. In this program the science of a vegan diet is explored and then the sponsor cooks food samples for people. Participants eyes are opened to just how fast, easy and delicious cooking with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes can be! Check out cancerproject.org for classes!

    September 4, 2011 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Tracey

    I watched the show last night. I used to be a vegetarian for 23 years. I loved it never had to worry about my weight. My father had a heart attack, I began to work-out more. That scared me. I had elective surgery and started following what I heard the Dr. say lean red meat 1X a day. (He actually said 3 X a day) Now mind you I was 13 when I became a veggie. He said my arterial walls were weak. In essence what I am saying is it's all balance. I don't really like fast food, and when I was a veggie it was always taco bell no meat. Now I prefer poultry even though I've heard all about those nasty farms. I just minimally eat meat and continue eating lots of veggies. What I've always done. I will say I have gained weight and feel more sluggish since eating meat for the last 3 years but I also need to exercise more. Genetics play a huge role in all of this. I have seen this time and time again, I work in the medical field. People who should be dead aren't and people who do most everything right are.

    September 4, 2011 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Greg

    Hypothetically, if I had an MI at age 35, basically followed cardiologist recommendations as relates to food and meds, and I am 49 years old now, would changing my diet to a vegan diet not only prevent but reverse the disease be possible?

    September 4, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wildwestheartattack victim

      No, vegan won't do it because the usual vegan diet has oils, dairy and maybe eggs. Do the Esselstyn diet for even just three months and you will be amazed like I was.

      September 10, 2011 at 08:39 | Report abuse |
    • David Raleigh

      "Vegan" by definition means NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS, including dairy and eggs which are among the worst things you can eat. Milk protein, for example, feeds cancer growth, while plant protein does not, according to Dr. Colin Campbell's comments in the video "Forks Over Knives".

      November 25, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse |
  33. Steve

    One year it's all meat no carbs.
    Now it's all carbs no meat.
    What's next? No solids all liquid? Then all liquids no solids?

    I can't believe people are gullible enough to even buy into all of this extremist garbage.
    No wonder the whole country is so out of shape.
    Common sense has been lost.

    September 4, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wildwestheartattack victim

      Yes, Steve I thought that too. Then I had two heart attacks and am just barely hanging in. Now for three weeks since the program was on heartattackproof.com I can see beyond tomorrow and next year and it is so great lifting my eyes to the horizon again – like Bill Clinton.

      September 10, 2011 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
  34. Rich

    Fasinating program. Any thoughts of a PART II? If so, I would recommend interviewing Sherry A. Rogers, MD, author of "Is Your Cardiologist Killing You?". Might tick off your sponsers though, namely Lipitor.

    September 4, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Sue Donym

    It’s dangerous to suggest that simply maintaining a vegan diet is sufficient to ensure health and longevity. One needs to be very careful about how a vegan diet is structured. Some vegans are malnourished. Children raised as vegans are at risk of developmental delays. I even know an obese vegan (large servings of rice, beans and pasta). Vegans need to balance carefully and supplement.
    Many scientists (including me) are familiar with “The China Study” and find it flawed and not credible. Of course, the greasy fast-food diet is horribly unhealthy and the meat- and dairy-dominated fast food pyramid is far from ideal. But pure veganism is very extreme.
    Some viewers will get the impression that as long as they are vegans they don’t need to be concerned with exercise, weight and nutritional balance. They may ignore well-grounded advice to have surgery. There is more to health than heart health and “heart attack proof” is a very strong term indeed.
    Sanjay, you have presented one side of a very complex and controversial topic.

    September 4, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Angel

      I'd find your posts more credible if you didn't use the name "Sue Donym" (yeah, I get it), and if you were able to actually point to credible, peer-reviewed articles that back up your claims about scientific and credible refutation of the studies done by Esselstyn, Barnard, Furhman, Ornish, McDougall, and even Campbell (Campbell gets included more on the cancer issue and as a different angle from Esselstyn who is concerned with cardiac health in his patients).

      September 6, 2011 at 21:02 | Report abuse |
  36. Rita Resnick

    I am interested in knowing how the French have such a low rate of heart disease. Their diet is by no means vegan – containing meat and dairy. Is there any truth to the fantasy that red wine keeps them healthy? If so, I would much prefer that to vegetables.

    September 4, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wildwestheartattack victim

      Sure, red wine helps. But if you want to clean out the plaques most people already have use a strict plant-based diet and you will have a much less likely chance of stroke or heart attack in the future.

      September 10, 2011 at 08:47 | Report abuse |
    • David Raleigh

      Maybe the French USED to have a low rate of heart disease, back when many of them were farmers and worked in the fields all day, but I don't think that's true any more.

      November 25, 2011 at 18:20 | Report abuse |
  37. kbsamurai

    To the average viewer that doesn't know what to think of this Vegan propaganda, I would invite you to read this excellent blog


    to get a different point of view about the actual evidence before deciding to attempt such a radical change in your diet.

    September 5, 2011 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Dr.Satinder Mullick

    Hello Sanjay;
    Great coverage.You should cover the latest mystery of Salman Khan who was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuraligia in India and came to US last week for surgery that he was told lasts half an hour–It ended up with 8 hours in operation theatre as Angiogram revealed that he had AV malformation(abnormal connection betwen arteries and veins) and second problem was Anuerism(bulge in blood vessel).So instead of surgery for TN,he had Gamma Knife(radiosurgery) and that did not cure the problem and has been asked to return back in 4 months.
    Since you are a Neurosurgeon–this seems to me a case of MISDIAGNOSIS.Could you please inform people about this problem.Salman Khan was very generous about his comments about his US doctors-"I now understand why doctors come to USA".
    Perhaps you can inform the public about this ailment.
    I have seen many Misdiagnosis over time.One for my wife,one for my colleague and one recently by ER doctor at a top hospital in Chicago who thought one week of vomitting was due to an obstruction and the patient needed ERCP.Since it was Saturday–ERCP specialist was not available at that hospital.Dr.Tarun Mullick decided to shift the patient to his hospital so he could do the ERCP.But he and another internist decided to do some testing.They discovered it was a case of MONO-which had affected liver etc.It took 4 experts to restore the patient from serious consequences.
    Misdiagnosis are not reported enough.Many doctors do not think OUT OF THE BOX. 36 years ago,my colleague was demoralized as doctors told him that he has a type of MS and he would not be able to stand up.So he started to use crutches.I suggested–that perhaps Johns Hopkins may try new treatment and would he consider being the Guineapig.After a few weeks of thought,he agreed and I contacted a top doctor at JHH,who invited him to come for evaluation for his patients that would be included in the trial.When my friend went there,the doctors found that he did not have MS etc.–he fell from a horse as a kid–that fall injury is causing the pain.My friend gave up the Crutches and walked for 20 years as I lost contact after 20 years.
    SALMAN KHAN case is important case–please cover it .Thanks.

    September 5, 2011 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wildwestheartattack victim

      As a retired assistant clinical professor I have taught medical students and residents how to avoid misdiagnosis, The fact remains (well covered in 'The China Study' showing little heart disease in interior China) our western diet is killing us. Leaving out animal fat has done wonders for MS, increasing fruit and vegetables has done wonders for cancer survivors, etc. Esselstyn's and Ornish's and now Gupta's science is there and has answers.

      September 10, 2011 at 08:56 | Report abuse |
  39. Rufus T


    If you start a CNN study on this, I’d like to apply.
    I had a massive heart attack 11 years ago at 49. Family history, all the risk factors, etc. Emergency angioplasty and a stent in my right coronary artery.
    I followed a “Heart Healthy Diet” and took the statins, but only marginally improved my “numbers”.
    A few weeks ago I got a checkup at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. The numbers were a dismal, radical wake-up call that I was another walking-dead-man.
    I saw an early promo for the show, started researching things on the internet and I decided to go-for-it on Dr. Esselstyn’s diet.
    I’m 2 weeks into the diet, feeling better and I’ve lost 10 pounds.
    I’ve got a long way to go, but the diet has been easy to adopt.
    I’ll stick to the new diet. No problem. I go back for lab-work in 3 weeks and a follow-up appointment in Grady’s Orange-Pod.

    As I said above, if you start a study or follow-up, let me apply.

    September 5, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wildwestheartattack victim

      Same here! I can't believe how good that broccoli and cauliflower taste now that I don't drown that great taste with salad dressing – In several decades of fighting 100 excess pounds I now can see the light at the end of the tunnel, having lost ten pounds in a month.

      September 10, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
  40. J Wrenn

    If Vegan is so great why do the low fat, low protein diets perform more poorly than the Atkin's diet when it comes to weightloss and cardiovascular related risk factors? I would encourge people to read "Why we are fat and what we can do about it" by Gary Taubes for a different perspective on dietary fat vs carbohydrates on this controversy. His take, and the science in the book is very convincing, is that the problem is refined carbs and sugars and not dietary fats. My folks just started the China diet a couple of months ago and the pounds are peeling away, not that they were very overweight. They seem to have plenty of energy but are eating a lot more bulk than before because of the relatively low nutritional density of the foods. My parents have discipline that most people don't possess. To think this type of diet will be accepted by the general public is delusional. Another source for an alternative approach to a healthy diet is the Weston Price Society website. They are raw dairy advocates and espouse the benefits of full fat milk and butter by the bucket full. It is my kind of diet. When you get right down to it, I think the main takeaways are to lose weight and exercise vigorously. If you are burning the fuel with plenty of exercise, it is probably less important what you eat, except stay away from refined carbs and sugars.

    September 5, 2011 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Milan Mehta

    I saw this show. I think Dr. Gupta did not present one side of the story – viz. effect of statins on diet and health. There are a lot of people controlling their cholestrol by taking statins. You also showed Pres Clinton needed a stent after his bypass. Was he taking statins? What is the effect of taking statins? Does it reduce the plaque? This was not addressed at all.

    September 5, 2011 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wildwestheartattack victim

      Many people on statins still have heart attacks. Its the oils and fat that keep the plaque growing.

      September 10, 2011 at 09:04 | Report abuse |
  42. a.kent

    If we are to use no oils at all, or butter, then how should we cook vegies? I thought we needed oils as a lubricant for joints, skin etc. especially as we age.

    September 6, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Angel

      How about steaming? How about sauteeing in wine, broth, or balsamic vinegar (that's how I saute onions and garlic for a start of a great marinara).

      September 6, 2011 at 21:10 | Report abuse |
  43. Don

    Because your report on healthy living is so different from the recent Time magazine report by Dr. Oz, why not interview him to explore the nature of these differences?

    Also, in your report, there is little mention of critical medical/nutritionist assessments of Esselstyn and the others you interview. Where is the evaluation of the evidence in relation to the claims that were made?

    September 7, 2011 at 04:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. tallestlora

    Should you tell.

    September 10, 2011 at 03:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Todd Goes

    Hi Dr. Gupta, I watched the program but I didn't understand two things: It was said that the cholesterol levels of people who suffered heart attacks were identical to those who didn't. So, it seemed to mean that this is not an important factor. So, why is is important to have a low cholesterol diet? And the second thing is – a person who have lived a life eating incorrectly and have plaques in all the body, what good would it do to stop now? isn't the damage already done? Thank you for your attention.

    September 24, 2011 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Caroline White

      Todd, when one eats a vegan diet, plaques will reverse. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugars will reverse, if one eats a well balanced, whole food diet which contains fruits, vegetables, beans and a few nuts or avocado for good fat.

      November 25, 2011 at 20:20 | Report abuse |
  46. glen walters

    The last heart attack will happen when everyone has the free health care screening that the insured have that can afford it. Subject: Are all congressman greedy, corrupt dumb-asses that don't want to really solve our problems?

    Subject: solving SS and medicare/medicaid

    SOLVING SOCIAL SECURITY IS A NO BRAINER, JUST REMOVE THE CAPS LEAVING A DONUT HOLE FROM THE PRESENT CAP $106,000 TO(say) $456,000 THEN REMOVE THE CAPS AT LEAST UP TO $10 MILLION. IF THAT DON'T WORK , TAKE IT ALL THE WAY UP. I believe reforming medicare is not nuclear science. I believe the answer lies in the health care reform bill. Many of the health care reform items are already part of Medicare. Pre existing conditions, caps, cancellations etc. The government is paying to much to private contractors which need to be eliminated. For an example I have a Medicare advantage plan from Anthem. I pay a 0 premium, just the $96.00 per month from my social security. But the catch is , Medicare gives Anthem My $96.00 plus up to $800.00 additional to handle my account which cost the medicare plan Billions every year.First of all , I would make all medicare recipients medicare advantage recipients and handle the accounts through Medicare, including drug coverage. i.e. everyone Medicare type C using one the Medicare Advantage plans as a guide line. I would also set up a special division in medicare and medicaid funded to handle the more catastrophic medicare and medicaid patients. i.e. take the more seriously ill of line. On the prescription drug benefit of my medicare advantage plan , Anthem pays less then $10.00 a year. The pharmacy supplies the drugs I need for $10.00 for a 90 day supply of generic drugs which is cheaper then my copay of $21.00 for 90 days supply. I believe with a like plan set up for under 65 would be good with a single premium and a family plan insuring children up to 27 years old. This would be what we call the public option and would be available in the federal exchange which is already law. The key is weeding out the catastrophic member of the plan into a special plan where we can study what is the best way to treat them and pay for it and better control the waste and fraud in that category. The Government needs to purchase drugs in bulk like the VA and supply clinics in all counties of the US. I am sick and tired of protecting the top 1% and then saying to the other 99% that you don't count. You know who you are. its not complicated. In the end I believe that combining VA, Medicare, Medicaid and the National health reform under one
    umbrella combining buying power like Canada's the long run answer. Everyone having a modest premium. The Public option would replace some programs. Separating long term illnesses from all the other health programs. Clinics in every U.S. county would be a must. VA patients would be able to see a local doctor or Clinic. State Government would pay the co-pays for now medicaid patients who would have a Federal policy like everyone else which premium would be subsidized by Federal Government.

    October 7, 2011 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. teresa


    October 17, 2011 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Ellen Jaffe Jones

    Sadly, so many think you have to hire Oprah's chef or that it costs a lot to eat a plant-based diet. I saw so many stories on the news that said you can't eat well on food stamps. As a former investigative TV reporter and financial consultant, I knew this wasn't true since I've eaten this way for 30 years. And I've also dodged a family history that gave my mom, aunt and BOTH sisters breast cancer and so many other diseases. I'm the only healthy person in my family...place in 5K races for my age group. So I wrote "Eat Vegan on $4 a Day" just to prove you can eat well on budget...at Walmart!! Great CNN special. My husband, who is not vegetarian said, "OK, I'll stop saying you're a member of a cult now." Of course, he's on all the meds for diseases of affluence. Preventable diseases are not sustainable and bankrupt families and will destroy our country if we don't get at the true cause of diseases.

    November 23, 2011 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Clyde Desrevisseau

    Hi, I just ran across your web site via yahoo. Your post is truly applicable to my life at this moment, and I'm really delighted I found your website.

    November 24, 2011 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Dia Kristy

    Helloooooooooo.......kids LOVE hummus with baby carrots, celery and red pepper stips and that's even easier to make than pizza!

    November 26, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

August 2011
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