The 2015 USDA dietary guidelines still advise limiting saturated fats to a maximum of 10% of your daily calories but are based on an unproven hypothesis and large number of studies that have shown saturated fats do NOT increase your risk of heart disease. Many trials have found that replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils INCREASE mortality risk including coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. In fact a 40year old unpublished rigorous trial reported that vegetable oil lowered total cholesterol by 14% but overall the mortality rate increased. For every 30 point drop in total cholesterol there was a 22% increased chance of death.
The rigorous study from 1968 to 1973 included 9,423 participants between ages of 20 and 97 and residents of state mental hospitals and a nursing home where all meals were prepared for them. Christopher Ramsden and his team found that vegetable oils lowered total cholesterol levels by an average of 14% after one year, however, did NOT result in improved health and longevity. In fact autopsies revealed 41% of the vegetable oil group showed signs of at least one heart attack compared to just 22% of those in the saturated fat group. The reason vegetable oils cause these kinds of observations that omega6 polyunsaturated fats, when taken in large amounts, cannot be burned for fuel. They are incorporated into cellular and mitochondrial membranes where they are highly susceptible to oxidative damage, which damages the metabolic machinery.
When heated, vegetable oils tend to oxidize, according to Dr. Fred Kummerow, who has researched heart disease for eight decades. Oxidized cholesterol is the real culprit that causes heart disease. They trigger inflammation, promote clogging of arteries and associated cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks. There have been four similar trials that fail to show the benefit of using vegetable oils.
Saturated fats provide many important health benefits and few risks according to a 2015 metaanalysis published in the British Medical Journal. They found no association between high levels of saturated fat in the diet and heart disease. In fact, another study found a number of important health benefits from saturated fats.
- Providing building blocks for cell membranes, hormones and hormonelike substances.
- Mineral absorption, such as calcium
- Carriers for important fatsoluble vitamins A, D, E and K
- Conversion of carotene into vitamin A
- Helping to lower cholesterol levels
- Acts as antiviral agent
- Optimal “clean” fuel for your brain and mitochondria
- Provides satiety
- Modulates genetic regulation and helps prevent cancer
Sugar, not fat, is the root of ill health. We’ve been told to eat low fat, but the result is that we’ve cut fat and eaten a ton of carbs and sugar instead. High HDL cholesterol is no indication of increased heart risks, rather likely protective. Large, fluffy LDL particles do NOT contribute to heart disease. Small dense LDL particles are easily oxidized, which may trigger heart disease.
Saturated fats are important for optimal health as it serves as fuel and to allow your body to burn fat rather than sugar. Just restrict net carbs, limit your protein and consume high quality fat sources. Let’s all live longer!
–Dr Fredda Branyon