Saturated Fat is NOT the Cause of Heart Disease

Everyones concerned about heart disease.  And so you should be! But the myth of saturated fat causing heart disease kills me. So I thought i’d summarise some of Dr Mercola’s thoughts on saturated fat and hopefully get you thinking differently

Saturated Fat is NOT the Cause of Heart Disease 

The demonization of saturated fat began in 1953 with Dr Ancel Keys publication of a paper comparing fat intake and heart disease mortality, and the misguided ousting of saturated fat has continued ever since.

The idea that saturated fat is bad for your heart became so ingrained in the medical and health community, anyone daring enough to question this dogma was automatically viewed as a quack, regardless of the evidence presented.

Instead, trans fat became all the rage and have since saturated the market in margerine, processed foods and vegetable shortening used in frying.

But times are a-changing, and in many ways for the better.

Medical scientists have finally begun to take a hard look at the link between saturated fats and heart disease – only to find that there is none.

Additionally, by now many have realized that it’s the trans fat found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that is the true villain, causing far more significant health problems than saturated fat ever could.

The saturated fat found mainly in meat and dairy products has been regularly vilified by physicians and the media, but a new analysis of published studies finds no clear link between people’s intake of saturated fat and their risk of developing heart disease.

However, and this is the key, not all saturated fatty acids are created equal.

There are subtle differences that have profound health implications, and if you avoid eating all saturated fats you will suffer serious health consequences. There are in fact more than a dozen different types of saturated fat but you predominantly consume only three:

stearic acid,

palmitic acid and

lauric acid.

It’s already been well established that stearic acid (found in cocoa and animal fat) has NO EFFECT on your cholesterol levels at all, and actually gets converted in your liver into the monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. – (read that again as its very important)

The other two, palmitic and lauric acid, do raise total cholesterol. However, since they raise “good” cholesterol as much or more than “bad” cholesterol, you’re still actually lowering your risk of heart disease.

The main thing about saturated fat intake is it must be evaluated in the context of replacement by other macronutrients, such as carbohydrates. Replacement of saturated fat with a higher carbohydrate intake, particularly refined carbohydrate, can exacerbate insulin resistance and obesity, increase triglycerides and small LDL particles, and reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol.

The main dietary efforts to improve your cardiovascular disease risk should primarily emphasize:

  • the limitation of refined carbohydrate intakes, and
  • a reduction in excess weight

Now, it is still clear that there is some association between fat and heart disease. The problem lies in the fact that most studies and GP’s or TV nutritionists make no effort to differentiate between saturated and trans fat. Additionally, refined carbohydrate intake and type of carbohydrates consumed needs to be heavily assessed when dealing with cardiovascular risks, which never is.

What is most encouraging in the Reuters article above was Dr. Eckel’s statement that “the thinking on diet and heart health is moving away from a focus on single nutrients and toward ‘dietary patterns’ and eating REAL food with zero processing!

In Summary

– Saturated fat from animals does not raise body cholesterol.  Saturated fat from trans fat does.
– Trans Fat is the real cardiovascular killer.  The recommended amount of trans fat in your diet is ZERO so stop eating processed food!
– Use organic butter (preferably made from raw milk) instead of margarines and vegetable oil spreads. Butter is a healthy whole food that has received an unwarranted bad rap.
– Eat a healthy natural diet of REAL foods. That’s the type of “eating pattern” you’ll want to strive for, if you want to be optimally healthy.
– Lose weight
– The fate of fat in your body is heavily dependant on the presence of excess refined carbohydrate.  If you do not eat wheat and gluten containing products (which you should not) you need the fat from animals to live optimally. If all of a sudden you decide to increase your fat intake and CONTINUE TO EAT RUBBISH CARBS IN EXCESS you will increase your risk of heart disease.  

– To round out your healthy fat intake, be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados and nuts and take a high-quality source of animal-based omega 3 fat such as krill oil or fish oil to balance your omega 3 : 6 ratio.

See you in the gym!

Personal Training Bondi Junction