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For every difficult question, there’s an easy answer

And, invariably, it’s wrong! You probably think that saturated fat increases bad cholesterol and promotes heart disease. At this point, saturated fat is the devil reincarnate, to the extent that every time you read about it, it’s always mentioned with plugged up arteries. However, many people are not aware that studies have not conclusively shown the direct relationship between saturated fat in your diet and heart disease. NOT EVER!

As a matter of fact, a few research papers conclude the exact opposite.  One of the reviews, found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the recommendations you get about saturated fat from health organizations comparing them to the findings science actually reports.  The results may surprise you.  Regardless of the warnings to avoid saturated fat if you don’t want heart disease, science does not support this finding. The statement “results and conclusions about saturated fat related to cardiovascular disease, from leading advisory committees, do not reflect the available scientific evidence.”

Translation: science does not conclude that saturated fat leads to heart disease!

An article in the Journal of Nutrition steps it up a bit: “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.” Then there’s the Archives of Internal Medicine that again state there’s no conclusions to indicate the need for reducing saturated since there’s no randomized control trials that support this conclusion.

 The enemy is carbohydrates, not saturated fat.

The real problem lies in the increase of carbohydrates that typically go hand in hand when dietary fat is limited.  High-glycemic index foods plus trans fats are directly associated with higher risk of heart disease. It follows that Big Food is the villain, in attempting to sell us low fat or no-fat products, feeding our sugar addiction and the wild blood sugar roller coaster.

Harvard studies state that carbohydrate consumption is associated with a greater risk of heart disease as opposed to saturated fat.  So, skip the bread not the butter. Surprisingly, a well known study, conducted in Framingham, Massachusetts, states that the greater amount of saturated fat you eat, the more cholesterol you eat, the more calories you eat, the lower your serum cholesterol. Unbelievable! But true, it’s supported by the data.

At this point you may be arguing about “those studies” that do say saturated fat increases risk of heart disease. If you look a little closer, these studies don’t really look at the effect on heart disease. Saturated fat can increase total cholesterol, but it moves you toward a desirable state where your “good” cholesterol is higher and your “bad” cholesterol is lower.  The “bad” being those nasty little inflammatory molecules that you want to keep at bay. So, your blood lipid profile actually looks better and your risk for heart disease is lower.

The ratio of “good” to “bad” cholesterol is a much more accurate predictor of health that the combined total cholesterol alone.

Not to mention the fact that saturated fat is necessary for your brain. Both saturated fat and cholesterol are essential for maintaining your healthy brain. Test subjects who consumed the most saturated fat showed a 36% reduction in the risk for developing dementia.  That’s huge!

If your cholesterol is low, you may experience a higher rate of depression. Saturated fat is a critical building block for your brain’s cells.  This may explain why human breast milk is one of the best sources of saturated fat in all of nature.  So, doctors in the know, would never tell you to eliminate saturated fat. Trans fat, absolutely. Fats used by restaurants to fry and refry foods, yep! Processed vegetable oil? Without a doubt.

There are certainly bad fats, it’s just that saturated fat isn’t one of them. Whatever the multiple causes of coronary disease, high intake of saturated fat is not among them. Understanding the specifics of managing your blood lipid profile will serve you well in your quest for vitality.  The better your circulatory system, the better your brain.  Well fed brain cells need good circulation, cholesterol and saturated fat to function optimally.  Fending off dementia and heart disease sets you up for success in your aging process, a step closer to maintaining vitality in your golden years. 

Watch your diet, pay attention to your total cholesterol and maintain your Omega 3s with Wild Red Fish Oil and you’re on your way to a better tomorrow.