I read reams of newly published scientific and medical information published in peer-reviewed journals every month.
Almost every week, I read an article or blog where a physician or registered dietitian talks about the dangers and health risks of consuming saturated fats. I could understand authors not staying abreast of the more recent research disproving these dangers and risks, but when the information is years old however, there’s no explanation other than they have not done their homework.
A small percentage of what we think we know about science, medicine and health is irrefutable and the vast percentage of our knowledge is subject to change, or a complete revision.
This has happened innumerable times and will continue to happen as new research surfaces.
For example, in the past few decades we have seen the almost unquestionable health benefits of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) challenged and somewhat reversed.
And everyone knows that higher levels of HDL cholesterol are healthy and protective, right? Now some cardiologists and researchers are challenging this “irrefutable” fact.
Plus, everyone from your physician to your best friend “knows” that consumption of saturated fats causes heart disease – however, based upon all of the most recently published studies that does not seem to be true.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (Mar. 2010) analyzing over 20 studies on the risks of consuming saturated fat found:
“… there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] or CVD [stroke and cardiovascular disease].”
And now a new study just recently completed confirms this and adds a really interesting twist to the “dangers of saturated fats” topic.
An article recently published in the journal PLOS-1 found that increased dietary intake of saturated fats did not cause a rise in the blood plasma level of saturated fats. But the very interesting take-away from this study was that increasing the percentage of daily dietary intake of carbohydrates did in fact raise plasma saturated fat levels, which when elevated are known to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Let’s sum up what we have learned and what you should do regarding dietary saturated fats:
1.) Consumption of foods containing saturated fats does not increase the risk of heart disease or diabetes because, for unexplained metabolic reasons, dietary consumption of saturated fats does not raise blood plasma levels – which are thought to increase the risk of developing diabetes and/or heart disease, when elevated.
2.) Consumption of foods containing high levels of carbohydrates do raise plasma levels of saturated fats, thereby increasing your risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.
According to one of the lead researchers involved in the study “Dietary guidelines that recommend restricted consumption of saturated fats are not smart or scientific.”
If you would like to reduce the risk of developing diabetes and/or heart disease, REDUCE YOUR TOTAL DAILY CONSUMPTION OF CARBOHYDRATES AND REPLACE THEM WITH HEALTHY FATS (FISH, AVOCADO, OLIVE OIL, NUTS, ALMOND BUTTER, SUNFLOWER SEED SPREAD) AND QUALITY GRASS-FED OR FREE RANGE PROTEIN SOURCES.
My personal diet provides about 65% of my calories from fats, about 25% from protein sources and 10% from carbohydrates. This is a far cry from the age-old pyramid recommendations to get 50-60% of your daily calories from carbohydrates!
While I do lift weights, I do very little aerobic exercise except for walking and my body fat percentage stays around 16-17% – I include this information for those of you who are worried about higher fat consumption causing you to gain weight or body fat.
My total daily caloric intake ranges between 2500-3000 calories. Women, depending upon their level of activity should generally be in the 1700-2000 calories per day range if they desire to maintain their current weight.
Metabolically and physiologically – SUGAR FROM CARBOHYDRATES IS THE ENEMY, NOT FATS!
I also believe there is enough published quality science indicating that reducing your intake of carbohydrates may also lead to decreased risks of developing cancer, dementia/alzheimer’s, vision and hearing loss. But this will be addressed in another article.
To the Best of Health,
Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.