Categorically, fat is divided into two – saturated fat and non-saturated fat (mono-unsaturated fat and poly-unsaturated fat). Their saturation depends on the number of carbon atoms attached to them. In addition, saturated fats contain only one single bond while non-saturated fats contain two or more. These are long chains of fatty acids. The more carbon atoms is attached to a fat molecule, the more saturated it becomes. The more saturated it is, the more tendency it will be stored in the body.
The nutritional myth that saturated fat is bad for you continues to fall apart as a steady stream of new books and studies on this topic hit the media. The latest work to challenge the old dogma is a book called The Big Fat Surprise by journalist Nina Teicholz, interviewed above.
Her book comes alongside new research that raises questions about the long-held but false belief that cardiovascular disease is related to fat and cholesterol intake.
Teicholz points out the flaws in the original Ancel Keys study; how saturated fat has been a healthy human staple for thousands of years, and how the low-fat craze has resulted in excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates, which has resulted in increased inflammation and disease.1 Teicholz tells the Wall Street Journal:2
“There has never been solid evidence for the idea that these [saturated] fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has …
The body makes use of glucose as the simplest source of energy. Glucose is harvested from a diet consisting of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates or sugars are categorized into simple sugars and complex sugars. Simple sugars consist of fructose from fruits; lactose and galactose from milk, maltose from grains and sucrose (table sugar). Complex sugars are called polysaccharides and are composed of starches, cellulose, pectin and fibers. All these are broken down into smaller sugar called glucose.
The easiest way to obtain glucose is eating the simple sugars – sweets. This is what causes the rapid composition of different diseases called metabolic syndrome when eaten in high amounts more than the recommended.
Insulin, the hormone that reduces the blood sugar will not function properly because of innate ways of consuming carbohydrate foods that are chemically refined and processed.
Diseases become chronic and long term because of insufficient exercise or lack thereof. It is important therefore to mobilize the body.
Cholesterol Is Not Only Beneficial for Your Body—It's Absolutely Mandatory
About 800,000 Americans die from cardiovascular disease annually. A quarter of these deaths could be prevented through simple lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and managing insulin and leptin levels.
By reducing your cholesterol, you may actually be increasing your risk for cardiovascular disease. Your body needs adequate cholesterol to perform a number of critical functions, and there is strong evidence that people have a higher risk for heart attacks by having their cholesterol levels driven too low, as is being done by drugs like statins.
Cholesterol plays important roles such as building your cell membranes, interacting with proteins inside your cells, and helping regulate protein pathways required for cell signaling. Having too little cholesterol may negatively impact your brain health, hormone levels, heart disease risk, and more. Therefore, placing an upper limit on dietary cholesterol, especially such a LOW upper limit as is now recommended, is likely causing far more harm than good.
Cholesterol itself is synthesized in our bodies. It is being produced mainly in the liver. As mentioned above, cholesterol is an integral part in the proper functioning of the brain and our hormones. Exogenous sources of cholesterol make the difference since it will be the one added to the already existing cholesterol in the body. Moderation is still the key when eating foods containing cholesterol.
The Truth About Saturated Fats
Just as cholesterol is vital for normal body processes, same is true with saturated fats. Some of its functions include the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, being the most concentrated form of energy that could yield more than that of protein and carbohydrate and many more.
Just as your body has requirements for cholesterol, it also needs saturated fats for proper function. One way to understand this is to consider what foods humans consumed during their evolution. Many experts believe that since the Paleolithic Era, we evolved as hunter-gatherers. Paleolithic nutrition states that we have eaten animal products for most of our existence on Earth. To suggest that saturated fats are suddenly harmful to us makes no sense, especially from an evolutionary perspective.
As recently as 2010, the current recommendations from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) call for reducing your saturated fat intake to a mere 10 percent of your total calories or less. This is astounding, and quite the opposite of what most people require for optimal health! The latest science suggests healthy fats (saturated and unsaturated fats from whole food, animal, and plant sources) should comprise anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of your overall energy intake. Saturated fats provide a number of important health benefits, including the following:
Providing building blocks for cell membranes, hormones, and hormone-like substances Mineral absorption, such as calcium Carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K Conversion of carotene into vitamin A Helping to lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids) Acts as antiviral agent (caprylic acid) Optimal fuel for your brain Provides satiety Modulates genetic regulation and helps prevent cancer (butyric acid)
Seven Good Tests for Assessing Cardiac Risk
1. HDL/total cholesterol ratio: HDL percentage is a very important heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your total cholesterol. This percentage should ideally be above 24 percent. Below 10 percent, it's a significant indicator of heart disease risk. 2. Triglyceride/HDL ratios: Divide your triglyceride number by your HDL. This ratio should ideally be below 2. 3. NMR lipoprofile: Possibly the most powerful test for evaluating heart disease risk, this test determines your proportion of smaller, more damaging LDL particles. Small LDL particles get stuck easily, cause more inflammation, and are tied to insulin and leptin resistance. This test is not typically ordered, so you might need to request it from your physician or order it yourself through a third-party. (For more information on the NMR Lipoprofile, please watch my interview with Chris Kresser, above.) 4. Fasting insulin: A normal fasting blood insulin level is below 5, but ideally, you'll want it below 3. If your insulin level is higher than 5, the most effective way to optimize it is to reduce or eliminate all forms of dietary sugar, particularly fructose, and processed grains. 5. Fasting blood glucose: Studies have shown that people with a fasting blood glucose of 100-125 mg/dl had nearly three times the risk of coronary artery disease of people with a blood glucose below 79 mg/dl. 6. Waist-to-hip ratio: Visceral fat, the type of fat that collects around your internal organs, is a well-recognized risk factor for heart disease. The simplest way to evaluate your risk here is by simply measuring your waist-to-hip ratio. (For further instructions, please see the link to my previous article.) 7. Iron level: Excess iron can exert very potent oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron in your blood, you can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. Ideally, you should monitor your serum ferritin level and make sure it is below 80 ng/ml. The simplest ways to eliminate excess iron are blood donation and therapeutic phlebotomy.
What REALLY Constitutes a Heart-Healthy Diet?
The following table outlines my version of a “heart-healthy diet,” which minimizes inflammation, reduces insulin resistance, and helps you reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. If you want further details, I suggest reviewing my Optimized Nutrition Plan, which will guide you through dietary changes in a step-by-step fashion, moving from beginner to intermediate to advanced.
1. Limit or eliminate all processed foods 2. Eliminate all gluten and highly allergenic foods from your diet 3. Eat organic foods whenever possible to avoid exposure to harmful agricultural chemicals, such as glyphosate 4. Avoid genetically modified ingredients (GMO), which wreak biological chaos on a cellular level and are linked to abundant health problems, including chronic inflammation and heart disease 5. Eat at least one-third of your food uncooked (raw), or as much as you can manage; avoid cooking foods at high temperatures 6. Increase the amount of fresh vegetables in your diet, locally grown and organic if possible 7. Eat naturally fermented foods, which help optimize your gut bacteria and prevent inflammation-causing superantigens from pathogenic bacteria, as well as providing valuable vitamin K2, B vitamins, and other nutrients 8. Avoid all artificial sweeteners. 9. Limit fructose to less than 25 grams per day from all sources, including whole fruits. If you have insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, you'd be well advised to keep your fructose consumption below 15 grams per day until your insulin resistance has normalized 10. Swap all trans fats (vegetable oils, margarine etc.) for healthy fats like avocado, raw butter, cheese, and coconut oil; avoid consuming oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked scrambled eggs) 11. To rebalance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, take a high-quality animal-based omega-3 supplement, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of processed omega-6 fats from vegetable oils 12. Drink plenty of pure water every day
Five Other Heart-Healthy Moves
In addition to following the heart-healthy plan discussed above, there are several more strategies that can be profoundly helpful in reducing chronic inflammation and thereby lowering your cardiovascular risk:
- Exercise regularly. One of the primary benefits of exercise is that it helps normalize and maintain healthy insulin and leptin levels. Exercise also boosts HDL, increases your growth hormone production, helps curb your appetite, and improves your mood and sleep.
- Intermittent fasting. Fasting is an excellent way to “reboot” your metabolism so that your body can relearn how to burn fat as its primary fuel, which helps you shed those excess fat stores. Intermittent fasting has a far greater retention and compliance rate compared to conventional all-day fasting regimens. Another version is alternate-day fasting.
- Grounding yourself to the earth. When you walk barefoot, free electrons are transferred from the earth into your body, and electrons are some of the most potent antioxidants known. Grounding (also called Earthing) helps alleviate inflammation, as well as thinning your blood and causing your red blood cells to repel each other, making them less likely to clot.
- AVOID statin drugs. Statin drugs can reduce your cholesterol to dangerously low levels, while doing nothing tomodulate LDL particle size. Statin drugs may even accelerate heart disease. A 2012 study showed that statin use is associated with a 52 percent higher prevalence of calcified coronary plaque compared to those not taking them.7 And coronary artery calcification is the hallmark of potentially lethal heart disease. Antidepressants have also been associated with heart disease.
- AVOID chemicals whenever possible. BPA, for example, has been linked to heart disease: adults with the highest levels of BPA in their urine are more than twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease as those with the lowest levels.
Saturated fat isn’t the perpetrator for everything bad. In fact it can do you more good than bad, if taken in the right amount. The rule is always balance and moderation. Always remember that when it comes to fat, what you put inside your body in excess will stay there unless you do something to get rid of it. And by riddance I mean exercise. Extra calories from food eaten and even stored fat can be excreted through sweat. Fasting can make burn fat even faster. The body needs energy for everything even the blinking of the eye. When we eat, the body burns the food and gathers fuel from it. During the fasting, the body makes use of the stored fat and turns it into fuel, thus getting rid of the excess fat.
Other efforts can be made to prevent cardiovascular diseases and other diseases. One example would be using herbal alternative medicines that are proven to have beneficial effects on health. Among any other rules, the one rule that sticks is that you should avoid chemicals whenever possible as they can induce or be a pre requisite to certain diseases.
Please read the rest of the article at Mercola.com