Saturated Fat and Heart Disease - New Study Puts Nail in the Coffin

New Study Puts Final Nail in the “Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease” Coffin

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For more than five decades we’ve been brainwashed to believe that saturated fat causes heart disease. It’s such a deeply ingrained belief that few people even question it. It’s just part of our culture now.

Almost every day I read or hear about someone proudly that they have a “healthy” diet because they don’t eat butter, cheese or red meat or any other foods high in saturated fat (nevermind that red meat isn’t particularly high in saturated fat, but that’s a subject for another post). Or I might overhear someone at the grocery store saying how much they prefer whole fat yogurt to the low-fat version, but they eat the low-fat stuff anyways because they want to make the “healthy” choice.

What most people don’t realize is that it took many years to convince people that eating traditional, animal fats like butter and cheese is bad for you, while eating highly-processed, industrial vegetable oils like corn and soybean oil is good for you. This simply defied common sense for most people. But the relentless, widespread campaign to discredit saturated fat and promote industrial oils was eventually successful.

What if I told you that there’s no evidence to support the idea that saturated fat consumption causes heart disease? What if I told you that the 50+ years of cultural brainwashing we have all been subject to was based on small, poorly designed studies? And what if I told you that a review of large, well-designed studies published in reputable medical journals showed that there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease?

Well, that’s what I’m telling you. We’ve been duped. Lied to. And we’ve suffered greatly as a result. Not only have we suffered from being encouraged to eat packaged and processed foods made with cheap, tasteless vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates (low-fat cuisine), but these very foods we were told would protect us from heart disease actually promote it!

The recent review I’m talking about is a meta-analysis published this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It pooled together data from 21 unique studies that included almost 350,000 people, about 11,000 of whom developed cardiovascular disease (CVD), tracked for an average of 14 years, and concluded that there is no relationship between the intake of saturated fat and the incidence of heart disease or stroke.

Let me put that in layperson’s terms for you:

Eating saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease.

There. That’s it. That’s really all you need to know. But if you’d like to read more about it, John Briffa and Chris Masterjohn have written articles about it here and here.

I wonder how long it will take for this information to trickle down into the mainstream culture? Unfortunately it’s not going to happen overnight. Paradigm shifts don’t work that way. But I’ve seen some positive signs, and I do believe the tide is turning. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 50 years.

To read more about heart disease and cholesterol, check out the special report page.

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  1. There seems to be evidence that sat fat contributes to insulin resistance and I think most people would agree that insulin resistance is one of the causes of heart disease. Could it be that Sat fat is not the elephant in the room when it comes to causing heart disease but its a baby elephant you need to remove if you want to reverse existing established heart disease ?

    • The relative risk for CHD CVD were 1.07 and 1
      This would suggest some risk but not great, again does this mean you may be OK consuming it with regard to getting these problems but if you want to reverse them you need the food items that give you RR’s below 1

  2. The lack of ‘physical activity level measurements’ in the studies are the source of all the confusion.
    My theory is: The more saturated fat you eat, the more activity or exercise you need to do to stop ‘it’ ‘sticking’ to your arteries and causing problems.

      • @Johanna, your reply sounds a bit trollish. Why mock someone for presenting a theory – is this the seventh grade?

        I know that you are more aware of the realities of saturated fat not “actually” causing those “giant blobs of atherosclerosis” as they show in the foolish videos. But most people do NOT know this.

        Mockery just makes the discussion turn bad.

        @Kenrick: I agree that the missing factor of physical activity is likely a critical error in the final results.

        • James, I’m sorry I sounded like a seventh grader. I am 61 years old, studied chemistry and nutrition so the butter getting into the veins just visualized too funny in my mind. -When it comes to exercizing, that has nothing to do with how greases behave in the human physical system.

        • No fats from food go directly in the blood stream. Wikipedia is not some university or laboratory, the articles are written by Mr. Somebody. – There is actually never any grease in the blood stream, at any point. – The lipids, cholesterol, of course. Cholesterol is a natural thing in the human body, produced mostly by liver, but not only that. The humain brain is 70 % cholesterol. If the arteries are getting chalky and fragile, i.e. too much sugar, white flours, junk food, lack of certain necessaries, the cholesterol comes in help. If the particles are big, good, they will roll in the arteries like in a bowling alley, if they’re small they can start clinging to each other and form macrofags that can block the arteries. – If you divide your triglycerides by HDL and the result is less than 2 (In scandinavian and german measurements) you can be 95 % sure the c.particles are big as they should be.

      • @Johanna. Directly or indirectly is BESIDES the point! Anyway: “In general, fatty acids which have a chain length of less than 14 carbons enter directly into the portal vein system”
        Source: http://www.fao.org/docrep/v4700e/V4700E08.htm

        “Monoglycerides and fatty acids enter absorptive cells in the small intestine through micelles; they leave micelles and recombine into chylomicrons, which then enter the bloodstream.” Source: https://www.boundless.com/biology/textbooks/boundless-biology-textbook/animal-nutrition-and-the-digestive-system-34/digestive-system-processes-197/digestion-and-absorption-754-11987/

        The chylomicrons circulate throughout the body, giving the blood plasma a milky, or creamy appearance after a fatty meal.

        Cholesterol (blood lipid/fat!) ‘accumulates’ in lesions or plaques (‘sticks to’) and thickens & stiffens the walls of arteries & blood vessels. Some lipoproteins play a fundamental role in atherosclerosis. There are five major types of lipoproteins.

        “‘Physical activity level’ is possibly a critical omission in the studies.” (Thanks @James)
        ““Grease? Chalky, Rolls, Bowling.”” And you laugh at my simplified-abstract-wording!
        You need re-educate AND re-evaluate yourself.

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