Fatty Foods May Not Be That Bad For Your Heart
The saturated fat found mainly in meat and dairy products has a bad reputation, but a new analysis of published studies finds no clear link between people’s intake of saturated fat and their risk of developing heat disease, according to a new headline at MSNBC.
Research has shown that saturated fat can raise blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and elevated LDL is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Because of this, experts generally advise people to limit their intake of fatty meat, butter and full-fat dairy. But this poor advice is a result of oversimplification as I have written many times on this blog. There is very little evidence that high cholesterol actually results in heart disease. In fact, those with normal cholesterol according to the figures at the National Cholesterol Education Program, tend to have more heart attacks. Moreover, it is impossible to tell merely from the LDL number, that it is in fact, “bad.” Two people can have the same number yet one of them is healthy and the other is not. One must look at the individual particles to determine risk.
Despite this, the American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that adults get no more than 7 percent of their daily calories from the fat; for someone who eats 2,000 calories a day, that translates into fewer than 16 grams of saturated fat per day. This is one suggestion that I will gladly continue to ignore.
The new analysis combined the results of 21 previous studies and researchers found no clear evidence that higher saturated fat intakes led to higher risks of heart disease or stroke. They published these findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“No one is saying that some saturated fat is going to harm you … people should enjoy their food,” said Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver. But, he pointed out, many studies have shown that dietary saturated fat can raise people’s cholesterol, and the new analysis is not going to change recommendations to keep saturated fat intake in check.
That’s too bad. Rather than relying on the study, Dr Eckel should learn a little bit more about cholesterol before he makes such statements. If he did, then he would know that there is nothing to worry about just as the review of the studies makes clear. It never occurs to these geniuses that perhaps the combination of saturated fat and carbohydrates is really the problem and vilifying saturated fat does not help. Few can fathom a diet free of dietary carbohydrates but such a concept actually exists!
A number of studies have linked the so-called Western diet to greater heart disease risks; that diet pattern is defined as one high in red and processed meats and saturated fats — but also high in sweets and other refined carbohydrates like white bread. On the other hand, diets described as Mediterranean or “prudent” — generally high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, unsaturated fats from vegetable oil — may help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It’s that type of eating pattern that people should strive for, Eckel said.
And this is precisely why people continue to vilify saturated fat and preach the doctrine of vegetables and fruit, despite the high sugar content of these foods. The Western Diet may be “characterized” by many things but what is most important, is the aspect of the Western diet that is harmful. My diet is characterized as being high in saturated fat, yet I have normal cholesterol. It is devoid of sugar and sweets.
I would argue that this is the patten that people should strive for. Better yet, don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself for six weeks and go get your blood cholesterol checked. You will discover that your triglycerides will fall, your HDL will rise along with your LDL. However, your LDL will now by the healthy Patten A instead of the atherosclerotic Pattern B.Share on Twitter