Are Those Who Cook and Shop for Their Family in Control of the "Cardiac Events" for Their Entire Family?

Might seem harsh, but that is the statement made by my last interviewee, Dr. Kim Williams, Immediate Past President of the American College of Cardiology (49,000 plus cardiologists). Read Dr. William's entire quote below as he made closing comments in an interview I did with him on diet and heart disease reversal and prevention.  If you just read the first three paragraphs below you will know this esteemed cardiologist's strong belief that heart disease is an almost completely food borne illness and we know how to eat to eliminate heart, and related vascular diseases, right now!

Dr. Kim William’s Closing Interview Thoughts and Message…

“If I had to get one message across to folks about “not letting their culture hold your heart hostage” it really would be to get the understanding, particularly if you are in control of your family’s diet, if I could get all of the people in the room to recognize that they are in control of the cardiac events for their entire family when they make shopping and cooking decisions. If we could just get that into the mind of the American people we could turn this thing around completely.”…”I didn’t get a lot of push back when I said it publicly at the beginning of my ACC (American College of Cardiology) Presidency…Wouldn’t it be great if we could eliminate our specialty (cardiology) in a couple of generations.”

Dr. Williams feels that a whole-food, plant-based diet could eliminate 99% of heart disease. Almost all heart disease is food borne. Heart disease is reversible and plaque regression is in the literature. This is not his opinion, it is proven in the literature.


How to Create a Successful, Plant-Based, Diet-Driven, Heart Disease Reversal Program in a Cardiology Setting (50:26 mm:ss)

Kirk’s video overview of his interview with Dr. Kim Williams (5:37 mm:ss)


Dr. Williams is a Chicago native, and expert in nuclear cardiology, and has been Chief of the Division of Cardiology at RUSH Medical College since 2013.

Dr. Williams was introduced to the potential benefit of plant-based nutrition when fellow cardiologist, Dr. Tazwell Banks, MD, told him in the 1980s that he put his patients on plant-based nutrition after their heart attacks (following Dr. Dean Ornish’s research on plant-based diets reversing heart disease) and Dr. Tazwell’s patients who followed the Ornish approach had no further events.

When Dr. William’s own lipids started going up in his 40s he followed the Portfolio Diet (vegan, plant sterols, nuts, fiber rich foods) by Dr. Jenkins (1, 2) and he dropped his LDL cholesterol in six weeks from 170 to 90. He has been a vegan for more than a decade.

Dr. Williams has been significantly influenced by Drs. Ornish and Esselstyn showing plaque regression with plant-based diets. Both diets have shown regression, the Esselstyn approach is probably faster. This is his opinion, not proven in head-to-head studies. Dr. Essesltyn’s no added fat, whole-food plant-based diet, is for rapid plaque regression in his opinion. He has been on both Drs. Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn programs.

The Mediterranean Diets, Lyon Heart Study and PREDIMED…might have a 30-40% reduction in cardiovascular events. But there is still significant residual risk. He believes those populations would do significantly better on a vegan diet.

Epidemiologically heart attacks and strokes occur less in plant-based eaters. There is sound data on plant-based nutrition reducing blood pressure.

He believes statins have benefits. They have saved lots of money (and lives). Especially after a heart attack. High dose statins can regress plaque 30-40%. Intermediate dose statins can stabilize plaque.

He notes when patients are on high dose statins cardiovascular disease events are much less. When his patients are placed on a vegan diet his patients have no further cardiovascular events.
He would like to see heart disease research and outcomes comparing the SAD (Standard American Diet) diet, semi-vegetarian diet, pescetarian diet, lacto-ovo and vegan diets.

How Does He Get Patients Started?

You have to meet people where they are. Understand their culture and health literacy.

Highly educated people understand risk and can go to Esselstyn’s or Ornish’s websites and start their program with information from books and other educational material.

In other patients with less health literacy he just tries to transition them by replacing their regular foods with animal-free alternatives. Animal-free meats are not the lowest in fat or sodium, but they do lower blood pressure. (INTERMAP Study, glutamic acid lowers blood pressure when you eat vegetable protein). While he recommends alternative meat sources, but he doesn’t recommend fast food alternatives like fast food veggie burgers. He encourages eating more texturized vegetable protein to help with the transition to a full vegan diet.

His new patients visits are 40 minutes, his follow-up visits are 20 minutes usually, but he frequently sees a new patient for an hour and 10 minutes. He schedules himself an empty 2 hours after his clinic time for overflow so he can do more lifestyle counseling. He reads his nuclear scans at night.

He uses his computer with patients in the office visit to look up nutritional resources that help the patient understand some nutritional concept.

This approach is not practical for busy practitioners seeing 40-50 patients per day to do nutritional counseling. In that case he recommends…

– Having a group visit concept
– Finding a plant-based allied health care practitioner to help with incorporating a plant based diet into the patient’s lifestyle – RDs
– At RUSH (cardiology) they are going to use educational movies on plant-based nutrition in their waiting rooms.

With plant-based nutrition use in cardiology procedures will go away. You don’t do follow-up procedures with stable patients. So there is a financial risk. One must see more patients in the community in this type of practice.

Future of Medicine and Cardiology Care…

“Volume of Care Delivered” to “Value of Care Delivered” will occur over the next few years. Quality metrics and alternative payment models such as:

The physician will be allotted a certain amount of money to take care of a certain number of patients for office visits, hospitalizations and procedures. Payment for these services will come out of the pool of money allotted to your practice. But if plant-based nutrition reduces office visits, procedures, testing and hospitalizations you will save money and make more money.

Comments on Supplements…

Fish oils reduce triglycerides, but do not reduce cardiovascular events or arrhythmias. He only uses fish oil in severe hypertriglyceridemia – the product must be free of PCBs, cholesterol and mercury. To lower triglycerides eliminate animal foods, fried foods and certain starches.

Saturated fat intake is associated with mortality – death (new research, JAMA Internal Medicine). Trans fats increase the risk of death greater than saturated fat. Saturated fat increases mortality (death). Monounsaturated fats reduced mortality and polyunsaturated fats reduce mortality even more!

Dr. George Abela, Chief of Cardiology at Michigan State, has shown electron micrographs of cholesterol crystals post-mortem and in a test tube. When cold or when cholesterol concentrations are high, “spikes” in the cholesterol can puncture the plaque and trigger a heart attack. The two things that stop the crystallization of cholesterol in the artery…..are alcohol and statins.

Cholesterol is not the only culprit with animal food intake that increases heart disease risk – elevated IGF1, TMAO, phosphorous, cholesterol, saturated fat, etc..

Dietary Supplements

Fish Oil – Uses sometimes for elevated triglycerides.
Garlic – Arthritis and blood pressure improvement.
CoQ10 – CoQ10 does not affect statins beneficial effects on cholesterol lowering and CVD events. It helps prevent muscle pain from statins in some patients. It is reasonable to use.
Vitamin B12 – Animals don’t make B12. Animals eat dirty vegetables. B12 is made by bacteria in the soil. He recommends taking vitamin B12. Most veggie meats have vitamin B12.

He doesn’t believe in supplementing with vitamins. They have failed in studies. Some might even be harmful.

Lower fat in diet and increased fiber will lower HDL. This DOES NOT increase CVDrisk. He uses falling HDL levels to motivate people to exercise more.

They now have some vegetarian options for patients in their hospital (RUSH Medical Center).

He recommends the “Happy Cow App” to help patients find vegetarian restaurants locally and around the world.

There was one vegan cardiologist when he came to RUSH Medical College and now there are four vegan cardiologists.

He wants to get more information on plant-based nutrition into the membership of the American College of Cardiology as the Immediate Past President.

It upsets him greatly that so many cardiologists needlessly die of heart attacks.

Patient Case Studies of Heart, Stroke, Peripheral Vascular Disease and Diabetes Reversal with Whole Food Plant-Based Approach.

Reversal of Angina, Diabetes, Obesity and Food Addiction Following Dr. Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Lifestyle Program – An Interview with Patricia Slimbarski

Reversal of Carotid Artery and Peripheral Vascular Disease Following Dr. Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease “Lifestyle” Program – An Interview with Jim McNamara

“A Case of Reversing Heart Disease in the Heart of Texas” – An Interview with Ken Stone

Other Physician Interviews on Heart/Vascular Disease Reversal

How Do You Create A Successful Heart Disease Reversal Program That Anyone Can Do? – An Interview With Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. MD

A Heart Surgeon’s Experience Living and Using A Whole Food Plant-Based Diet – An Interview with Staton Awtrey, MD

Kim Allan Williams, Sr., M.D., Immediate Past President, American College of Cardiology, James B. Herrick Professor, Chief, Division of Cardiology, Rush University Medical Center 1717 W. Congress Parkway, Suite 303 Kellogg, Chicago, IL60612 312-942-2998; / 312-942-5829 (FAX)

Be and Stay Well,


You can call me for "brief" medical questions 8-9 a.m. PST Monday thru Friday 916-489-4400

"Sign-Up for Kirk's "Healthy Living Tips" Here!