If you think you’re going to see a list of vegetables, fruits and grains on this post, you may be disappointed. Though we are told though our government promoted USDA food pyramid to eat no more than 30 percent of calories of fat a day, with no more than 10 percent of calories coming from saturated fat, this is just plain wrong and extremely outdated information. This low fat paradigm has been confusing Americans for decades and instilling the idea that a low fat diet is the best for a healthy heart. We then turn to unnatural substitutes such as margarine, shortening, “healthy spreads”, and vegetable oils thinking these are heart protective. These man made fake fats are composed of partially hydrogenated vegetables oils, high in transfatty acids and can interfere with growth and the development of the nervous system, affect sexual maturation, fertility and even contribute to the cause of cancer and heart disease.
Saturated Fat is Healthy!
I know this is hard to believe, but saturated fat is extremely protective and is needed for a healthy functioning body. I personally will never forget the day it finally sunk in for me. It was the starting point to my investigation for a real health supportive diet. Saturated fat reduces Lp(a), which is associated with increased risk for heart disease and contributes to high normal levels of HDL cholesterol, which keeps your heart healthy.
When saturated fat is replaced with a higher carbohydrate diet (particularly coming from refined carbohydrates), like we are told to do, blood sugar becomes unstable which can increase triglycerides and small LDL particles (risk for heart disease), and reduce the “good” HDL cholesterol.
Cholesterol Is NOT The Villain!
This goes hand in hand with the saturated fat myth. Having high cholesterol is not necessarily a bad thing. Just because a number reads high to our standards, is not telling the entire story. Traditionally, women had cholesterol levels in the mid 200’s and men in the low 200’s or higher, depending where they originated from and the diet they were accustomed to. Again, these cultures had low to no incidents of heart disease. Dr. Weston A Price was a pioneer in this field, studying different indigenous people all over the world, looking at their diet and how it effected their health.
Chris Kresser is one of my favorite bloggers on this subject with wonderful evidence and literature for this information. In his blog “5 reasons not to worry about your cholesterol numbers” he states:
- High cholesterol is not a risk factor in all populations. The French have among the highest cholesterol levels in the world, and among the lowest rates of heart disease of any industrialized nation. The Austrians and other European nations are similar.
- Women on average have 300% lower rates of heart disease than men, despite higher average cholesterol levels.
- The rate of heart disease in 65 year-old men is 10 times that of 45-year old men. Yet high cholesterol is not a risk factor in men over 65. (In fact, men over 65 with low cholesterol (<150 mg/dL) are twice as likely to die from heart disease as those with normal or even “high” cholesterol.)
The New View On Cholesterol Is Here To Stay
“Cardiologists who have been paying attention to the research now associate heart disease with factors like lack of exercise, diets high in refined carbohydrates, poor blood sugar control, inflammation, and sedentary lifestyle. Dietary cholesterol doesn’t matter so much, and a moderate intake of saturated fat is probably not harmful (though monounsaturated fats like olive oil may be preferable). Healthy fats (butter from grass-fed cows, olive oil, coconut oil, fatty fish) are a more “heart-healthy” source of fuel than grain products (even whole grains)”.
Bill Davis, The author of Wheat Belly, is a cardiologist who recommends a wheat-free, low-carbohydrate diet that includes olive oil, garlic, fish oil and tea. This is a great start, moving in a more positive direction when it comes to preventative dietary approaches for heart health.
Found At The Scene Of The Crime
Due to harmful foods, bad dietary choices, environmental exposure to toxins, chemicals, polluted air, these toxins scratch and tear the lining of our arteries as they pass through our bodies. Cholesterol’s role is to patch this up, much like a bandage to help heal and repair the wound. This is usually permanent though, so the more toxins we’re exposed to and the more junk food we intake, the cycle continues until our arteries get to a point where they are “clogged”, which can lead to many symptoms and risks, including heart disease. A diet high in sugar makes our blood sticky and viscous. Since cholesterol is a part of blood, it can start to stick to the vascular walls, also contributing to the building of cholesterol in the lining of the arteries. Thus it is not the cause, it is just found at the scene of the crime!
Welcome the butter and lard back into your life with no guilt! Butter you say? Oh yes, check out why Butter is Better! Still not convinced? Watch this humorous clip telling the history of the Ancel Keys theory on the saturated fat myth.