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Book Review: The AFib Cure by John D. Day and T. Jared Bunch

Review by Steve S. Ryan, PhD

Book cover of The AFib Cure by Drs. Day and Bunch

The AFib Cure by Drs Day and Bunch

The AFib Cure: Get off Your Medications, Take Control of your health, and Add Years to Your Life was written by Drs. Day and Bunch for patients with Atrial Fibrillation. The center theme of The AFib Cure is “Food is the best medicine.”

The AFib Cure Focused on Diet

Their list of food prohibitions is more extensive than even by the most fanatical diet gurus. Though the authors acknowledge that this diet doesn’t work well enough. They admit that “about half of our patients can’t reach a drug-free goal (i.e., being A-Fib free) with lifestyle and biomarker optimization (diet) strategies alone.”

An only 50% success rate isn’t acceptable for most Atrial Fibrillation patients, particularly when it comes at such a cost. The authors require superhuman efforts and absolute dedication to their diet.

Food Prohibitions: The AFib Cure diet prohibits a lot. The list includes:

• Alcohol
• Sugar
• Flour, Bread, White Rice
• Coffee/Caffeine
• Stimulants
• Marijuana/THC
• Packaged Processed Food
• Fast Food
• Meat (wild meat OK)
• Fish (limited [5] exceptions)
• Supplements

Is Food a Medicine?

How does the AFib Cure diet work to cure A-Fib? The authors fail to show how physically and/or chemically their diet can cure Atrial Fibrillation. As doctors know, food is not a medicine.

A good diet hopefully will improve one’s overall health and may indirectly improve one’s A-Fib. But unlike, say, antiarrhythmic drugs, diet doesn’t directly affect A-Fib.

You’re Doomed if You Don’t Follow Their Diet

The authors are uncompromising. You must follow what they say, or you are doomed to live in A-Fib. The authors’ strategy is to take something like alcohol and create fear.

The AFib Cure book is full of fear-mongering comments.

“Even as small as a single serving of beer or wine per day can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing atrial fibrillation.” (The research they cite doesn’t say this.) Their book is full of fear-mongering comments like this.

Exhausting, Life Limiting and Isolating

One consequence of trying to keep on the authors’ diet which is so demanding and rigorous is you may lose your quality of life.

Or you may not have the time, finances, or dedication to follow the AFib Cure diet and practices forever.

It can be discouraging and depressing if you think that their diet and lifestyle is the only way to become A-Fib free. (It isn’t). The authors do acknowledge, “it is simply too hard to implement each and every one of these approaches as faithfully as needed.

Some of the authors’ advice is confusing and contradictory. For example, they write “…you can’t beat A-Fib with lifestyle interventions alone,” but that’s what they are proposing.

Most of us have to interact with people who eat and behave normally. But if you follow the AFib Cure admonitions, no more having a beer with your golfing buddies or having a party with your girlfriends. You may be forced to limit the community of people you interact with and need, even family members.

The authors demand absolute dedication, not just of diet but of many other factors (tracking). This can become exhausting, life limiting, and socially isolating.

A-Fib Can be Cured! (But Not by Diet)

The most important point the authors make is that A-Fib can be cured―(defined as being A-Fib free for 5 or more years).

Talking about other doctors, web sites, etc., the authors advise: “They might tell you there is no such thing as an ‘AFib Cure’…. Respectively, we disagree.”

I agree with the authors—A-Fib can be cured. (After an ablation, it’s very common to be A-Fib free for 5 or more years. For example, my neighbor has been A-Fib free for over 20 years after a successful a catheter ablation.)

Living a Life with Purpose

One significant point the authors make is the importance and health benefits of “purpose” in one’s life. There is a “correlation between purpose in life and better health outcomes regardless of age, sex, education or race.”

To identify your purpose, they recommend asking yourself these questions:

1. What is something you would like to do better?
2. Who is someone you’d like to love longer?
3. What is something you’re hoping for?

My Overall Evaluation of The AFib Cure by Day and Bunch

The authors make two important points I agree with:

• Atrial Fibrillation can be cured;
• A purpose-filled life has significant health benefits.

After that, I have problems with this book.

Diet for A-Fib: The AFib Cure may become the go-to source for people interested in dedicating their lives to a diet that purports to cure A-Fib. Even though the authors admit their diet (and lifestyle admonitions) are at best 50% effective (in real life probably less).

Their fanaticism about diet may be a turn off for many readers. And food certainly isn’t a medicine.

A Hard Read: The authors love their words and repeat themselves annoyingly often. They use very few graphics and which are of limited quality.

The book’s structure is confusing and seems somewhat scattershot. The last part of the book in particular feels like you’re locked into some kind of “Ra-Ra” sales pitch rather than a cogent presentation on A-Fib.

Their research is suspect. They force and twist research to fit the points they are making. For example, they say that alcohol “…can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing atrial fibrillation, even as small as a single serving of beer or wine per day.” But the study they cite doesn’t say this. In that study the relative risk of 1 drink/day was 1.08 which is negligible, and there was no association with beer.

A Depressing Read: Overall, the authors’ book is a depressing read. It requires a heroic dedication to stick to their diet and lifestyle admonitions, which are very hard to do and, for most people, very burdensome.

According to the authors, you have to live like this all your life.

It’s questionable if it works well enough to justify such life limiting and exhausting efforts. People reading the AFib Cure risk becoming disheartened and may give up trying to cure their A-Fib.

The Bottom Line

To be cured of A-Fib, patients don’t have to follow The AFib Cure.

First, seek out a highly recommended cardiac electrophysiologist (EP), a cardiac specialist in arrhythmias, even if you have to travel for the consultation.

Then, learn about all your treatment options, especially about catheter ablation. Ask if you qualify for the procedure. A successful catheter ablation for the average healthy person usually leads to a life free of Atrial Fibrillation and a return to a normal life. (Alcohol, for example, can then be used like a normal person.)

You can be A-Fib free and can live your life without resorting to the restrictive The AFib Cure dietary admonitions.

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