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The Truth About Fats and Your Heart

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The media, the Government and dare we even say many medical professionals are wrong on this issue. We're doing our utmost to create waves of change. Thankfully, along with us, there's a growing band of simply wonderful health professionals, authors and changemakers also waving this flag for real nutrition. We highly recommend you follow Dr Asseem Malhotra a cardiologist doing fantastic work on this here on Twitter. So here we go....

 

Saturated Fats - Good for Your Heart!

If you have heart issues, eat fat. If you want to prevent heart issues, eat fat. If your circulation is poor, eat fat. If you lack energy, eat fat. If you have sugar or carbohydrate cravings eat fat. 

There's one condition... make all of the fat you eat real food with natural fats, not processed / man made ones. And make most (not all) of the fat you eat the saturated kind, it's the best kind of fat there is.  Mingle in some monounsaturated and a bit of polyunsaturated.

What you want to avoid, is sugar, and refined carbohydrates. These are the foods we need care with, not healthy fats. 

There we said it. And if any of you reading this have even the slightest doubt, let us show you the proof, the science and the wisdom.

Please note, don't go crazy, there's a sensible level of moderation here! If you somehow manage to eat too much fat, you will experience nausea. But it's actually quite difficult... have you ever tried to eat vast amounts of cheese or cream? It's not easy! Your body will guide you if you let it - cravings typically mean not enough fat, nausea too much!

But do add lots of green veggies, or even better, some fermented vegetables, and swedish bitters are great if you have them.

 

Which Fats to Eat

All animal fats and products are fine (meat, fish, cheese, butter, eggs, cream, lard, live yoghurt, whole milk etc) and can be included liberally.  Fermented dairy is the ultimate. Raw dairy is also far better nutritionally if you can get it and now available in many markets and online from Hook and Son. We strongly recommend you buy organic wherever possible and if your budget allows. 

Add some Coconut Oil (and for vegans this is your foundation), and Olive Oil -  buy the best quality you can, cold pressed, and ideally extra virgin.   Add lots of nuts and nut butters.  Avocados are lovely and highly recommended, also healthy to use are Hemp Seed Oil and Walnut Oil, again, always cold pressed oils. Coconut Oil is the very best option for cooking at high temperatures because it can withstand heat without creating carcinogenic substances.

Processed vegetable oils are the problem we face today, these are to be completely avoided.  As well as being heavily refined, their basic nutrition is fundamentally wrong being far too high in omega 6. Hydrogenated fats are the worst of these with toxic trans fatty acids that harden the blood vessels. Margarine is truly horrid, and should never be found in the kitchen if you are looking to optimise your health.

 

How Saturated Fats Help The Heart

Everywhere we turn, "they" tell us saturated fats are bad, that they clog the arteries and make us fat.  Even worse, for years they have been telling us we should be eating toxic margarine (see Butter v Margarine). It's based on a few flimsy pieces of work (Ancel Keys being the chief culprit), that have been entirely debunked! But as we will show you below, science actually points to the notion of "low fat" being a tragedy for human health (although it's been very profitable for processed food companies).

Science shows that good amounts of fat, less carbohydrate, AND exercise leads to the healthiest hearts. We need all three of these factors in place, along with the general points discussed in 7 Keys to Avoiding Heart Disease.

A lack of the right types of fat causes sluggish circulation and reduces the effectiveness of the "pump" that keeps your system running. In contrast, good quality saturated fats support the circulation and artery function, reduce calcium deposits in the arteries, lower lipoprotein in the blood and provide good energy for the heart.  Very importantly, they also reduce inflammation, key for all aspects of health.

There are many other broader benefits not directly heart related, but which will support all round health and vitality issues such as weight management which has knock on benefits for the heart. We must mention, that, Yes, saturated fats are SLIMMING and Low Fat is Fattening.

See also - Feel Fantastic With the Right Fats

 

Here's the Proof

There are dozens and dozens, in fact probably hundreds more examples like this, but these bring the message home pretty well we think!

  • "The French Paradox" - the French eat far more saturated fats than the UK, and yet their rates of heart disease are significantly lower.
  • Butter consumption in the USA dropped from 18lbs to 4lbs a year, heart disease went up and became the biggest killer
  • After World War II in Switzerland, the consumption of animal fat went up by 20%, heart mortality went down.
  • In the 60s, a study in India found heart disease was fifteen times higher in South India compared to the North, yet in the North, they consumed nine times more saturated fat.
  • In the African tribe the Masai, whose entire diet is milk, butter, blood and animal meat, heart disease is basically unknown.
  • In Yugoslavia, heart intakes increased in one ten year period (1955 - 65) by a staggering 10 times, yet fat intake reduced by 25%
  • The traditional Eskimos are free of heart disease yet live mainly on saturated fat and not much else; that is until they adopt a Western diet, and then it presents.
  • In 1965, published in The British Medical Journal people who had suffered a heart attack were studied. One group consumed corn oil, one olive oil, and the third saturated fats. After two years, the saturated fats group had more people alive (75%) than the olive oil group (57%), and the corn group (52%).
  • Another famous study in the 70s - The Nurses Health Study of over 80,000 women aged 34 - 59 found "In multivariate analyses in which age, smoking, and other covariates were controlled for, intakes of short to medium-chain saturated fatty acids were not significantly associated with the risk of coronary heart disease"
  • In Australia the Sydney Diet-Heart Study of 1978 showed an increased mortality rate of 50% when animal fat was replaced with vegetable fat for five years.
  • In 1988, a study was halted in dramatic circumstances for ethical reasons because a low fat diet was having devastating consequences. A traditional mediterranean diet had a 70% lower death rate than the group who were given a low fat diet, including swapping butter for canola oil. (The Lyon Heart Study - Michel de Lorgeril, M.D)
  • A 14 year study of health professionals published in the BMJ in 2003, found no evidence linking dietary fat and strokes.


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004

"At this time, research on how specific saturated fatty acids contribute to CAD and on the role each specific saturated fatty acid plays in other health outcomes is not sufficient to make global recommendations for all persons to remove saturated fats from their diet. No randomized clinical trials of low-fat diets or low-saturated fat diets of sufficient duration have been carried out; thus, there is a lack of knowledge of how low saturated fat intake can be without the risk of potentially deleterious health outcomes"

Alan Gaby MD

"The hypothesis that excess consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol is an important cause of coronary heart disease (CHD) is based on incorrect assumptions and has failed the test of controlled clinical trials. In the present review it is suggested that CHD may, in fact, be caused by consumption of modern processed food. Diets containing large amounts of sugar, refined flour, and oils are greatly depleted of a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Even a marginal deficiency of some of these micronutrients may play a major role in the pathogenesis of CHD. In addition, some components of processed food, such as trans fatty acids, heated vegetable oils and sucrose, may have a direct toxic effect on the cardiovascular system"

Even The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) European Coronary Prevention Study found no relationship between saturated fats and heart disease, this was published in 1983. Shortly after, following 50 years of research, a report published in 1997 concluded

"Intakes of fat and type of fat were not related to the incidence of the combined outcome of all cardiovascular diseases or to total or cardiovascular mortality"

We could go on, but let's just say, again, saturated fats are good for you, and don't let anyone tell you different!

 

References

 
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration - Weston A Price DDS
 
The Fourfold Path to Healing - Thomas Cowan
 

Put Your Heart in Your Mouth - Dr Natasha Campbell Mcbride

Eat Fat to Lose Fat - Sally Fallon

The Recipe for Living Without Disease - Aajonus Vonderplanitz
 
Coronary Heart Disease: The Dietary Sense and Nonsense - George V Mann
 
The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease - Uffe Ravnskov
 
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats - Sally Fallow
 
Good Calories, Bad Calories - Gary Taubes
 
The Great Cholesterol Con - Anthony Colpo
 
Should a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet be recommended for everyone? Beyond low-fat diets. Katan MB, Grundy SM, Willett WC N Engl J Med. 1997
 
Rose GA, Thomson WB, Williams RT. Corn oil in treatment of ischaemic heart disease. BMJ 1965
 
de Lorgeril M, Renaud S, Mamelle N. Mediterranean Diet, Traditional Risk Factors, and the Rate of Cardiovascular Complications after Myocardial Infarction: Final Report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study. Circulation (1999) 99(6):779-785
 
Marmot MG, Booth M, Beral V. International trends in heart disease mortality. Atherosclerosis Reviews 1982;9:19-27
 
Diet, Blood Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease:A Critical Review of the Literature, Volume 2, November 199. Russel H Smith
 
He K, Merchant A, Rimm EB, Rosner BA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Ascherio A. Dietary fat intake and risk of stroke in male US healthcare professionals: 14 year prospective cohort study. BMJ 2003 327: 777-782
Kromhout D, Keys A, Aravanis C, et al. Food consumption patterns in the 1960s in seven countries. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1989) 49:889-894
 
Seven Countries: A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease - Ancel Keys (1980). Harvard University Press
 
Ravnskov U. The questionable role of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular disease. J Clin Epidemiol 1998
 
“Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Renata Micha, Sarah K. Wallace, Dariush Mozaffarian, Circulation, online May 17, 2010
 
Nutritional Factors in Cardiovascular Disease, Journal of Advancement in Medicine, Volume 2, Numbers 1/2, Spring/Summer 1989 Alan R. Gaby, M.D.
 
Rose G.A., Thomson W.B., Williams R.T. “Corn oil in treatment of ischaemic heart disease,” British Medical Journal 1965;1:1531-3.
 
Malhotra SL. (1967). Serum lipids, dietary factors and ischemic heart disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 20; 462-74
 
Shaffer RD, Mann GV, Anderson RS, Sandstead HH. (1963). Heart disease among the milk and meat-eating Masai of Tanganyika. Proceedings of the International Congress on Nutrition. 6th, Edinburgh 1; 616
Shaper AG. Cardiovascular studies in the Samburu tribe of northern Kenya. American Heart Journal 1962;63:437-442.
Mann GV, Shaffer RD, Sandstead HH. Cardiovascular disease in the Masai. Journal of Atherosclerosis Research 1964;4:289-312.
 
Gillman MW, Cupples LA, Millen BE, Ellison RC, Wolf PA. (1997). Inverse association of dietary fat with development of ischemic stroke in men. Journal of the American Medical Association 278; 2145-50
 
Dietary saturated fats and their food sources in relation to the risk of coronary heart disease in women1,2,3 Frank B Hu, Meir J Stampfer, JoAnn E Manson, Alberto Ascherio, Graham A Colditz, Frank E Speizer, Charles H Hennekens and Walter C Willett
 
Removing industrial trans fat from foods: a simple policy that will save lives - Editorial in the British Medical Journal. putting the case for a ban on trans fats as a simple, low cost, effective public health measure. By Dariush Mozaffarian, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology, and Meir J Stampfer, professor of medicine and epidemiology, at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. Published in BMJ 2010;340:c1826, 15 April 2010
 
Saturated fats: what dietary intake? by J. Bruce German and Cora J. Dillard, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 80, No. 3, 550-559, September 2004.
 
The Institute of Medicine (USA) Letter Report on Dietary Reference Intakes for Trans Fatty Acids (states NO safe level for trans fats)
 
Replacement of Dietary Saturated Fatty Acids by Trans Fatty Acids Lowers Serum HDL Cholesterol and Impairs Endothelial Function in Healthy Men and Women - article from Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 2001;21:1233, by Nicole M. de Roos; Michiel L. Bots; Martijn B. Katan
 
The case for not restricting saturated fat on a low carbohydrate diet by Jeff S. Volek and Cassandra E. Forsythe, referenced letter in Nutrition & Metabolism 2005, 2:21. Quote: "We believe that the recommendation to restrict saturated fat in favor of unsaturated fat on a low-carbohydrate diet is unnecessary and may even diminish some of the beneficial physiological effects associated with carbohydrate restriction."
 
Trans-Fatty-Acid Content of Common Foods - letter to the New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 329:1969-1970, December 23 1993, Number 26). QUOTE: "The adverse effects of the trans fatty acids on the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol is twice that of saturated fatty acids."
 
Trans-fatty acids intake and risk of myocardial infarction - by Ascherio et al, published in Circulation Vol. 89 1994, pp.94-101. Quote: "intake of trans-fatty acids was directly related to risk of myocardial infarction ... Intake of margarine - the major source of trans-isomers - was significantly associated with risk of myocardial infarction."
 
Dietary fat intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in women - paper in the American J. of Clinical Nutrition, June 2001, by Jorge Salmerón et al. It finds a correlation with dietary trans fat and type 2 diabetes. QUOTE: "We estimated that replacing 2% of energy from trans fatty acids isoenergetically with polyunsaturated fat would lead to a 40% lower risk ... Substituting nonhydrogenated polyunsaturated fatty acids for trans fatty acids would likely reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes substantially."
 
Dietary intake of trans fatty acids and systemic inflammation in women - paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 79, No. 4, 606-612, April 2004, by Dariush Mozaffarian et al. QUOTE: "trans Fatty acid (TFA) intake predicts risks of coronary artery disease and diabetes. ... TFA intake is positively associated with markers of systemic inflammation in women.

Dietary fats, carbohydrate, and progression of coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women 1,2,3 Dariush Mozaffarian, Eric B Rimm and David M Herrington "In postmenopausal women with relatively low total fat intake, a greater saturated fat intake is associated with less progression of coronary atherosclerosis, whereas carbohydrate intake is associated with a greater progression"
 
Trans Fat Diet Induces Insulin Resistance in Monkeys - by Kylie Kavanagh, Kate Jones, Janet Sawyer, Kathryn Kelly, Janice D. Wagner, Lawrence L. Rudel of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, NC. Presented on 12 June 2006 at the 66th annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association
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