Eat Fat, Be Healthy: Understanding the Heartstopper Gene and When a Low-Fat Diet Can Kill You

Matthew J. Bayan, Author, Frank Carrea, Foreword by Scribner Book Company $23 (224p) ISBN 978-0-684-86527-0
The title of this book is misleading: Bayan's story does not give license to eat fat. Instead, it exemplifies why patients need to become their own doctors and be active in taking good care of themselves. What Americans don't know can kill them, as first-time author Bayan demonstrates in his book, which is part medical memoir and part how-to advice. Cutting out fat is recognized today as one of the keys to promoting heart health, but a low-fat diet is also a recipe for disaster for the minority of people who have the ApoB gene, which actually raises the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Bayan, a public health manager who regularly exercised, never smoked and vigilantly watched what he ate, was unaware that he had the ApoB gene (which he dubs the ""Heart-Stopper"") until it was almost too late. Revelation came in the form of a massive heart attack that nearly killed him at age 45. Up to 20% of Americans carry the Heart-Stopper gene, but many doctors are unfamiliar with the technology that can be used to detect it--and potentially save patients' lives. Parts of the memoir are overwritten--the drama of the situation really ought to speak for itself--but Bayan does a fine job translating medical terminology and, with a keen sense of humor, explaining how people can integrate healthy behavior into everyday life. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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