Well until I “fell” into a low carbohydrate lifestyle, I would have told you that fat functions to make you fat and that too much fat will negatively impact health leading to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and a whole slew of horrible diseases that in the end result in an early death. Now that my focus on attaining health and weight goals for myself and my clients are through nourishing the body, I sing a much different tune. Many people live healthy lives eating fat. All kinds of fat, not just unsaturated fat but saturated fat too.
Just recently (March 18, 2014) evidence of the benign nature of saturated fat on heart disease was presented in the scientific journal of the Annals of Internal Medicine (1. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1846638). Rajiv Chowdhury, MD, PhD and his colleagues reviewed almost 80 studies that included half a million people and focused on the risk of heart disease and fat intake.
An important specific risk factor for heart disease is a small dense LDL (pattern B) and not necessarily larger more buoyant LDL (pattern A). These subfractions of LDL can be identified by your doctor so make sure to request that this test be done when getting your cholesterol checked. The test is The NMR LipoProfile® test. You can learn more here, http://www.liposcience.com/. If you are trying to get a better understanding about this, the information here will be helpful, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/28/nmr-lipoprofile.aspx.
Here are the findings from the study:
· NO evidence that eating saturated fat increases heart attacks and other cardiac events.
· The unsaturated fats such as soy or corn oil and the “trans” saturated fats found in commercially prepared foods can increase heart disease risk.
· Fatty acids in saturated or unsaturated fats may be helpful or harmful to health based on unique characteristics of each fat. For example the saturated fat in dairy products was not harmful to heart health. In other studies full fat dairy helped lower the incidence of infertility.
Dr. Chowdhury discusses the need to change focus of the dietary guidelines to keep up with the science. “The smaller, more artery-clogging particles are increased not by saturated fat, but by sugary foods and an excess of carbohydrates. It’s the high carbohydrate or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines. If anything is driving your low-density lipoproteins in a more adverse way, it’s carbohydrates.” (2. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/study-questions-fat-and-heart-disease-link/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0)
He also clarifies that saturated fat may increase LDL cholesterol but it is not the small dense dangerous type, it is the larger less dangerous floating type) and it also raises HDL (good) cholesterol. In essence, it may be possible that eating saturated fat has a neutral effect on cholesterol for this reason.
Over the years, the mantra has been to stay away from fat to avoid heart disease. Despite the lack of attention and support from health care agencies and experts, the current research is here supporting the benefits of all types of fats including saturated fat as part of diet that is healthy.
Two evils to avoid as best as possible when trying to eat healthy is:
· commercially used unsaturated and trans fat (soy, corn, hydrogenated oils and trans fat)
· sugar and excess low or non-fat, high carbohydrates (even “healthy” carbohydrates turn into unhealthy LDL if you eat too much)
Your heart health is in your hands. Follow the nutritional guidelines or follow your heart?