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Truhealth MD: a delicious "therapeutic intervention"

Anytime sprinkles, courtesy Truhealth MD

Patients at risk for heart disease know they need to eat better, but cooking nutritious meals is time-consuming. Also, truly beneficial foods often don’t taste very good unless they’re well prepared. According to Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, a practicing cardiologist, her new company Truhealth MD aims to solve both issues.

Truhealth MD is a Minneapolis company whose four employees manufacture and market its line of health food products. The company’s offerings include heart-healthy pancakes, oatmeal, bars, smoothie mixes, and “anytime sprinkles”—fiber-rich flakes that mix well with yogurt, fruit, and granola.

“[In large part], heart disease is a nutrition-related problem,” says Dr. Klodas. After 18 years as a cardiologist, she’s identified four common nutrients that at-risk patients often lack: antioxidants, omega-3 acids, fiber and phytosterols, a broad class of steroid that may lower “bad” cholesterol.

The trick, she says, is “supplying clinically meaningful amounts of these nutrients in a delicious package…and turn every meal into a therapeutic intervention.” While other “healthy” foods, like FiberOne cereal and Clif bars, may contain sufficient doses of fiber and omega-3 acids, few contain significant quantities of phytosterols. This is largely an issue of ingredient cost, says Klodas, and it’s a major point of distinction for her products.

Meanwhile, the taste issue basically solves itself. “We tend to forget that real, wholesome, nutritious foods actually taste good,” says Dr. Klodas. 

Many of the company’s customers report impressive reductions in their LDL and triglyceride readings within weeks of beginning a twice-a-day regimen.

Robert Kirscht, a Twin Cities-based sales director in his late 40s, is a typical case. Kirscht’s job duties—“I’m traveling and entertaining clients about half the time,” he says—make it difficult to eat right or exercise regularly. A family history of heart disease doesn’t help either. Last spring, his longtime physician confronted him with an especially bleak blood-work report and issued an ultimatum: Take a cholesterol-lowering statin drug or else.

“I wasn’t comfortable with that choice,” says Kirscht. “So I asked for 30 days.” He started using Truhealth’s products—“I usually sprinkle the ‘anytime flakes’ on my granola [in the morning] and have a cranberry or chocolate bar in the afternoon,” he says—and began to feel better almost immediately.

When he returned the next month for a round of follow-up tests, Kirscht’s doctor was thoroughly impressed. Among the highlights: his triglyceride reading dropped from 150 to 99, his LDL dropped from 155 to 118, and his HDL rose from 45 to 53. The only drawback, he says, is that he has to hide his “delicious” stash from his two teenage daughters.

Truhealth MD’s products aren’t endorsed by the FDA, and Dr. Klodas stresses that they’re just one component of a healthy lifestyle—albeit a powerful one.

Patients who truly commit to cooking heart-healthy meals, exercising regularly, and making other smart choices, says Dr. Klodas, may see even better results than Truhealth’s meal-replacement regimen can promise. “But those people are rare,” she adds. “[Our products] make dietary advice actionable…and help our customers think about what other lifestyle decisions they might be making.”

What types of decisions? Consider a hypothetical customer who, every day for a solid year, replaces a plain bagel and Snickers bar with single servings of Truhealth pancakes and chocolate bars. To absorb comparable amounts of phytosterols and antioxidants, said customer would need to consume a ton of broccoli and 150 pounds of kale over the same period. For many, that’s not an appetizing prospect.

After all, says Dr. Klodas, “Who wants to eat 150 pounds of kale?”

Source: Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, Truhealth MD
Writer: Brian Martucci
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