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Saturated Fat and Heart Disease No Longer Connected

September 25th, 2014

Exhaustive new analysis finds no link between diets with saturated fat and poor heart health.

In a new analysis published earlier this year in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers have turned conventional wisdom about saturated fats and hearth health on its head. After analyzing the results of nearly 80 studies with data from over half a million people, researchers found no evidence that consuming saturated fat increases the risk of heart attack or other cardiac events.

These findings contradict what the American Heart Association says about saturated fat. Their guidelines state that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat can protect against heart disease by lowering LDL, aka bad cholesterol. However, the author of the new study, Dr. Chowdhury, points out that the relationship between saturated fat and cholesterol is more complicated than it seems. Yes, saturated fat can raise LDL cholesterol. However, it also raises HDL, or good cholesterol. Perhaps more significantly, saturated fat raises LDL pattern A, a fluffy sort of cholesterol particle that is not nearly as dangerous to the arteries and heart as LDL pattern B, which is small, dense, more easily oxidized, and more likely to cause inflammation.

Dr. Chowdhury pointed out that LDL pattern B cholesterol is associated with high carb and sugar intake rather than with saturated fats. In his opinion, then, people should not be as concerned about saturated fats in their diets as they should be about sugars and carbs.

This agrees at least in part with what other doctors not affiliated with the study have to say. For example, Dr. Alice Lichtenstein, a nutritional biochemist and lead author of the American Heart Association’s diet guidelines, points out that when people cut saturated fat from their diet they often replace it with carbs and sugar, which carry their own risks and result in a null effect on hearth attack risk.

Dr. Lichtenstein warns that this study should not be interpreted to mean people can go back to eating as much bacon and butter as they want. It is still important to keep fat intake within the recommended guidelines of 20 to 35 percent of the total diet and to monitor carb and sugar intake carefully.

If you want to learn more about how your diet can protect against heart disease, as well as other ways to stay healthy and vigorous as you age, please contact Renew Man™ today.


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