Saturated Fat Does NOT Cause High Cholesterol and Heart Disease

I recently got into a debate with someone I care deeply about– he was questioning my recommendation that people need to eat more fat. He felt that his diet has “enough fat” and that his drinking skim milk was ok. I strongly disagreed. For those of you who have read my book, you know my mantra: eat fat to lose fat. And, eating fat doesn’t only help you lose fat, it helps your brain function better, it helps you age more slowly and most importantly–it helps lower cholesterol!

Yes, eating good healthy fats lowers your cholesterol.

The whole fat-is-bad-for-you and causes heart disease myth stems from a study conducted in the 1950’s by Dr. Ancel Keys. Dr. Keys’ study compared fat intake and heart disease mortality in six countries. What the study showed was that Americans, who ate the most fat had the highest heart disease mortality rate, while the Japanese, who ate the least amount of fat had the fewest heart disease deaths.

However, statistics for this study actually included 22 countries, and when all 22 were analyzed the link between fat consumption and heart disease did not exist.

So, what does this mean?

It means that like most scientific research– the results were skewed or biased or misinterpreted.

The fact is that science has shown time and again that the real culprit that contributes to heart disease, high cholesterol and a host of other illnesses is trans fat–the kind of fat found in vegetable oils and margarine.

Translation: not all fats are created equal.

Our bodies need saturated fats (like those found in nuts, meats, eggs and olive oil). And, eating saturated fat does not increase our cholesterol. In fact, we need cholesterol of optimal health. The cells in your body need cholesterol to maintain their function. Depriving your body of cholesterol actually causes your body to hold on to cholesterol and, voila…your cholesterol levels will rise and you will need Lipitor or the like.

To repeat myself, yes, we need saturated fat for optimal health. And, no–cholesterol rich foods do not cause heart disease or high cholesterol.

Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as meat, dairy, certain oils, and tropical plants like coconut) are imperative to optimal cellular function and hormone regulation. And, eating fat keeps you full longer.

As well, eating healthy saturated fats gives you more energy. In fact, health experts (myself included) recommend diets of at least 50% saturated fat. Yes, 50%! Cut down on carbs and eat more healthy fats.

Now, to be clear– the healthy fats I like and recommend are the following:

*Grass-fed beef
*Eggs (organic and pastured)
*Olive Oil
*Coconut Oil and milk
*Organic nuts and nut butters
*Butter (made from raw organic grass fed milk)
*Avocado

These foods are good for you and your health! Eat them daily!

2 thoughts on “Saturated Fat Does NOT Cause High Cholesterol and Heart Disease

  1. This is great cutting edge info. I spent the last two days at a nutrition convention in LA, where the common denominator was that good fats are healthy and it's carbohydrates and sugar that are causing diabetes and heart disease.

    This is largely due to the old FDA food pyramid recommending 12 servings a day of grains and carbs (because of the ag industry's influence)! People need not shy away from fat.

  2. Thanks Aimee for this blog. I think you are absolutely right about saturated fat. We have been stuck with this misconception for many years, unfortunately. The scientific evidence linking saturated fats with heart disease is very weak.

    Our fear of fats may have promoted overconsumption of simple carbohydrates and sugars. The food industry´s overemphasis on low fat products, high in sugar, in accordance with guidelines from professionals and regulatory authorities, have lead us in the wrong direction.

    I have written some blog on this subject myself , if you are interested: http://www.docsopinion.com.

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