"Polymeal" - Alcohol, chocolate, garlic, and nuts preventing heart disease?

The writers of an article in the British Medical Journal (v 329, p 1447, 2004) claim to have come up with a novel diet that will decrease heart disease risk by 76% (Risk Ratio of 0.24, Margin of Error between 0.16 to 0.37). They surveyed published articles on the connection between various dietary elements and cardiovascular disease (CVD - disease of the heart and blood vessels caused by narrowing of the blood vessels, as a consequence of accumulation of plaque in the blood vessel lining. It includes coronary heart disease and stroke). They suggest that people eat something they dub "Polymeal" - meals comprised of wine, chocolate, fish, fruit, vegetables, garlic, and nuts. Going down the list, they reference studies that show that

  • 5 ounces (150 ml) of wine daily reduce CVD by 32%,

  • 4 ounces of fish (114g) consumed 4 times a week reduce CVD by 14%,

  • 4 ounces (100g) of dark chocolate daily reduce blood pressure, corresponding to a CVD reduction of 21%,

  • 400 grams (14 ounces) of fruit and vegetables likewise reduce blood pressure, that in turn, reduces CVD by 21%,

  • Daily garlic consumption (2.7 grams, or 0.2 ounces) reduces total cholesterol resulting in a CVD reduction of 25%.

  • Consuming 68 grams (2.5 ounces) of almonds daily, results in a 12% risk reduction, due to cholesterol reduction.

Adverse effects pointed out in this article: the garlic causes body odor! In addition, eating more than the required amount of fish, may cause unacceptably high mercury levels in the body. Moreover, they state that "we do not recommend taking the Polymeal before a romantic rendezvous, unless the partner also complies with the Polymeal".

They go on to recommend half an hour of walking to furthermore prevent CVD. They even suggest that "For those people earnestly (italics - mine) seeking to prevent CVD, the Polypill ( a cocktail of a statin, 2 antihypertensive drugs, folic acid and aspirin) can be combined with the Polymeal... Redundant cardiologists could be retrained as Polymeal chefs and wine advisors".

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Last Modification - December 18, 2004