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. I have to agree with Dave who had two stents put in. Just underwent an unforeseen single bypass at 53 several days ago and I’ve been very diet conscious for 15 years. But never to the point where I cut all saturated or non-saturated fats from my diet. But I did limit it far more than most Americans and I ended up with the same result. It seems self evident to me what animal-based foods do to us and what it does to the endothelium.

    If you watch the 20 year old video “Foods That Kill” you’ll see how thick the lipids are in the blood drawn from a guy who just wolfed down a double cheeseburger and a milk shake. It’s disgusting. It looks like goo in the guys blood.

    See 3:15 of this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG_tn3KAXNE

    Esselstyn’s science is fairly sound and anyone who has read “The China Study” can quickly determine for themselves that the populations with the greatest longevity and lacking diseases that are rapidly killing those of us in western culture (particularly heart disease) are those communities that have no animal-based foods.

    I would also encourage people to view “Forks Over Knives” before making a decision. One thing to realize folks. You roll the dice if you don’t take immediate control of what you’re putting in your mouth every single day.

    • The China Study is anything but sound science. It’s thinly veiled propaganda under the guise of science. Read this: http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/China-Study.html

      The “diet-heart” hypothesis (the idea that eating saturated fat and cholesterol raises cholesterol in the blood, and that the concentration of cholesterol in lipoproteins in LDL is what drives heart disease) has been thoroughly discredited. Based on many well-designed cholesterol feeding studies (where they feed volunteers 2-4 eggs a day and measure their cholesterol), it appears that dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in about 75% of the population. Cholesterol in food isn’t well-absorbed by the body. Only “free” or unesterified cholesterol can be absorbed through the gut lining; but most cholesterol we ingest in food is esterified. The remaining 25% of the population are referred to as “hyper-responders”. In this group, dietary cholesterol modestly increases both LDL and HDL, without affecting the ratio of LDL to HDL or total cholesterol to HDL or increasing heart disease risk. [1] On average, then, eating cholesterol doesn’t have a significant impact on blood cholesterol levels, and for the 1 in 4 people that do experience a slight increase in blood cholesterol levels, it is not clinically significant.

      It’s true that some studies show that saturated fat intake raises blood cholesterol levels. But these studies are almost always short-term, lasting only a few weeks. [2] Longer-term studies have not shown an association between saturated fat intake and serum cholesterol levels. In fact, of all of the long-term studies examining this issue, only one of them showed a clear association between saturated fat intake and cholesterol levels, and even that association was weak. [3]

      In addition, studies on low-carbohydrate diets (which tend to be high in saturated fat) suggest that they not only don’t raise blood cholesterol, they tend to have several beneficial impacts on cardiovascular disease risk markers. For example, a meta-analysis of 17 low-carb diet trials covering 1,140 obese patients published in the journal Obesity Reviews found that low-carb diets neither increased nor decreased LDL cholesterol. However, they did find that low-carb diets were associated with significant decreases is body weight as well as improvements in several CV risk factors, including decreases in triglycerides, fasting glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, abdominal circumference, plasma insulin and c-reactive protein, as well as an increase in HDL cholesterol. [4]

      Dozens of studies have been performed over 50 years to examine the relationship between saturated fat intake and heart disease. They attempted to answer the question: does eating more saturated fat lead to more heart attacks. Almost without exception, the answer has been “no”. In 2010 a large review of previous studies examining this question was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers looked at 21 different trials covering almost 350,000 subjects for periods ranging from 5 to 23 years. [1] Here’s what they 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 [cardiovascular disease].

      That should settle the question.

      [1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19852882
      [2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12716665
      [3] http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/01/does-dietary-saturated-fat-increase.html
      [4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22905670
      [5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824152/

      • Okay, admittedly I didn’t read all of the examples above, but here’s what I see: None of these studies is 100% scientific. We are not able to repeat these studies (as per the scientific method) because we will NEVER be able to find people that are the same make up (age, genetic makeup, gender, medical history, etc.). We also are not taking untainted specimens (babies) and feeding one group a high fat, low carb diet; another group a low fat, low cholesterol diet; and a control group and study them for 20 years. This is the only way we will have conclusive proof which diet is the healthiest.

        Also, can genetics play a roll? I have a paternal grandfather that ate a diet rich in meat and veggies (not starchy), and a maternal grandfather that is the typical “meat and potatoes” eater. The grandfather that ate meat and veggies died at an age of 85 due to heart failure, yet the “meat and potato” eater is still going strong at 96.

    • You mentioned that the subject “wolfed down a cheesburger and milkshake. OK, #1, they are both much loaded with carbs. So, don/t you think these carbs caused the problem? I dose myself with 2 tbs of coconut in the morning and evening. I have gone from 217lbs to 208lbs in one month. Wouldn’t we all say I am doing something right?

  2. Chris i know it’s good to reduce the amount carbs, but is eating saturated fats with carbohydrate bad, or would it play any role in heart disease? some people seem to think mixing both is bad for you.
    Thanks, Luke

  3. Just today, NYTimes has an article “The Island Where People Forgot to Die” about centenarians on the Ikarian island 30 miles off of Turkey. Little to no saturated fats, dairy and meat, the latter only for festivals. Lots of wine, homegrown veggies and some fruit. Also they DO eat bread, lots of ‘stone ground’ bread.

    These people, more importantly, wake up when they feel llike it, take a good long afternoon nap, go to be late, and don’t live by the clock. They have one fourth! the dementia found in the USA, and a fraction of cancer and heart disease. Reading this , I have trouble simply dismissing sat. fat as cause for coronary disease.

    • of course if you have a diet high in antioxidant fruit and veg and little refined/processed products you will be healthy, that does not mean that taking away saturated fat is more beneficial for your health

    • The article stated that they eat larded pork a few months a year. And goat’s milk everyday. They do eat bread but not at every meal it seemed and I’m guessing it’s nothing at all like the bread we eat. In addition these people are quite stress free, and they eat almost nothing with processed sugar. Sounds to me like they eat a very balanced diet with lots of the stuff Chris recommends like sleep, exercise, hobbies, social engagement, play, don’t overeat, and eat lots and lots of veggies.

  4. If dietary fat does not cause heart disease, what does? Every cell in the body makes cholesterol – what causes them to go haywire and raise cholesterol levels?

  5. Nutrition is nothing short of confusing at the best of times…
    The big push these days is about Cholesterol and animal fats seem to play the biggest role in this.
    It would be great if someone put out a list of foods you should eat and foods you shouldn’t eat and then at least we have an easier way to identify what goes in.
    Then we only have to look at quantity of food intake and daily activity… this should make it easier to maintain a healthy weight especially for these like myself that don’t lead a very active lifestyle.

    • Nutrition is easy. Avoid anything processed or in a package. Grains have to be processed in order to even make them edible, avoid them all. Eat a large variety of whole foods (plenty raw) in order to ensure you get all the chemicals your body needs. Simple.

  6. Hi Chris, great blog! I admit I’m also confused. I find Dr. Esselsteyn’s book mentioned above persuasive due to documented and photographic evidence of plaque reversal. BUT, I also find logic in eating habits similar to what you suggest, notably Dr. Davis’s ‘track your plaque blog’ which agrees with cutting bread (wheat primarily), sugars, and veggie oils. What’s an intelligent middle aged non-medical individual to do? Sat fat from fries and chips are bad due to Omega 6 oils, etc, but sat fat from cheese and milk is fine… am I hearing you correctly? ……

  7. Chris,

    I’m training a GI doc right now and have been debating back and forth on the Sat Fat issue. I actually linked this post and a few others by Masterjohn and he immediately saw some issues with this study and sent me this rebuttal. Would you mind letting me know your opinion of this rebuttal?

    http://db.tt/fOGhdJDt

  8. I have some confusion about sat fat. If we eat excess carbs and it turns to sat fat, it becomes dangerous? Is it because the body then has to convert LDL? Does this sat fat eventuall get converted to TG?

    Thanks!
    Jack

  9. Chris, thanks for the info, i totally agree with you about the benefits of the paleo diet and am in the process of making the transition from low to moderate carb diet to the paleo diet. i want to note i studied human physiology at the university of oregon and am certified fitness trainer. i do have one question tho. is there a distinction between general vegetable oil and high quality olive oil, and how about avacados?

  10. The Inuit and Masai have short life expectancies – so I am not gonna rush and go on either one of their diets, sorry. However, water quality etc may also play a part.

    You are making a subject even more confusing than it actually is. The key is a disease free and disability free longevity. You will not find many people collectively who consume high amounts of saturated fats living a disease free and disability free life. Long livers are people that thrive on natural unprocessed foods, period. And if they have meat or dairy, it is A) usually their own animal b) milk is from their own animal c) it is in extreme moderation.
    I have heard all the bling blang about saturated fats not causing heart disease, but seriously, you just won’t find hardly any people who only eat quality saturated fats with no vegetable oils, flour or refined sugars. It is alos too difficult for the average person to obtain quality saturated fats – and to understand it! When people eat crap, they eat it all – and when people are healthy, they stay away from it. The first time I heard someone convincing me that it is the fruit that makes people fat, not the meat, I almost fell over laughing -Particularly when she was fat herself!! Yep, that saturated fat thing sure is working.
    Chris – simply spread the message of bugger all saturated fats, no crap vegetable oils and back off processed foods. Stick with plant based foods, its easy, EASY.

    • That’s not accurate. We have examples of cultures that consumed saturated fats in significant amounts without processed food, such as the Kitava in Polynesia, and they’re free of heart disease. There are a number of factors that go into life expectancy, and nutrition is only one of them. The Masai and Inuit are both free of the modern diseases which are killing us every year. If they had our sanitation and trauma/emergency medical care, which is what has primarily extended our lifespan (although living an extra 10 years in a diaper and a wheelchair is of debatable value, IMO), their life expectancy would surely be longer. Hunter-gatherers are known to live to comparable ages as so-called “civilized” people, provided they escape violent or traumatic deaths earlier in their lives.

      • Debatable value?? I know what you mean here but to some people an extra ten years (which is a mighty long time) is of huge value. Time enough to see grandchildren or great grandchildren grow up, time enough to find more appreciation in life, to learn and see more. I wouldn’t say no to longer life even if it was in diapers as you put it.
        I don’t think saying that 10 years of life in diapers is of debatable value is a particularly astute thing to say.
        In reference to the saturated fat not inducing heart disease, what about other health problems such as diabetes, obesity, cancer to name a few, are there any links here? What about life expectancy and saturated fat intake? Correct me if i’m wrong but do not people following diets based on the Mediterranean diet, vegetarians and cultures with diets based on fish have longer life expectancies?
        If the focus is on heart disease alone and saturated fat does not increase the risk well that’s fine, but what about other health conditions? From what i’ve read saturated fats certainly don’t decrease the risk of heart disease.

        • I think by the 10 years in diapers, Chris was implying that the mind was malfunctioning along with the body. So to imply that one would need diapers yet still enjoy full awareness and cognition is a stretch.

    • Seriously, you can have a saturated fat IV and it will not cause unhealthy cholesterol levels.

  11. Doctors who have done bypasses inquired about patients diets & let^s say this,it wasn^t exactly rich in fruits & vegetables.Remember its the oxidization of cholesterol that is a threat. How do we prevent oxidization ? Alcohol in moderation—increases HDL,reduces small particle LDL,reduces c reactive protein,thins blood,anti inflammatory.Then there^s Vitamin C,powerful anti oxidant that prevents the oxidization,found in fruits & veggies.As far as meat goes,yes enjoy but in moderation

  12. I would also like to ask whether there are clear “PREREQUISITES” for eating sat. fats. I feel there are a lot of people out there debunking “conventional wisdom” on the issue, but not providing clear guidanceas to what you need to do BEFORE it is safe to consume a half pound of bacon at breakfast. And if we, in our modern world, are simply unable to meet all those prerequisites, can we still say it is safe to consume sat. fats beyond a certain level? For instance , if driving daily in LA consistently and predictably elicits a stress response that negatively impacts the true causes of heart disease, then would it be better for those people to avoid eating a lot of sat. fats? Or if a person is unable to keep a proper balance of Omega 6 & 3 because of cost and unavailability of healthy foods, should he or she be consuming sat. fats? Or would other dietary recommendations be more appropriate.

    • THe point is saturated fats are healthy so “YES” to saturated fats. No, to omega 6s/ I have no problem consuming bacon, cream, butter, coconut oil, palm oil and my health thrives from it. If you can’t afford the good stuff, just begin buying less. Many doctors put their patients on a diet high in sat fats to prepare for open heart surgery.

      • Sorry I meant bacon….and to me the proven healthy food has to be whole plant-based….not fish!

  13. I’ve listened to your long podcast on cholesterol and sat. fats. It was good, but i am concerned that there might be some information missing that readers might need to be aware of in order to make an informed decision about consumption of sat. fats. In the podcast, your guest explains that the problem essentially starts in the membrane of the LDL particle. He says that polyunsaturated fats in that membrane incur oxidative damage which then makes them a danger. But he then skips to talking about the relative safety of sat. fat anf doesn’t fully address PUFs. If PUFs are in the membrane, are they there naturally? What is the normal composition of the membrane and how does eating sat. fats improve the membrane’s resistance to oxidation? Because if the membrane is normally composed of PUFs, then i am concerned that eating sat. fats isnt really helping anything, and may actually harm you because of the increase of cholesterol in circulation.

  14. Please, PLEASE show me a diet that includes SATFATS and is PROVEN to stop and reverse my heart disease.

    I am 51 years old and have TWO stents in my arteries after two “mild” heart attacks. I ate the usual fast food, american diet. Whether, my CVD was caused by SATFATS or REFINDED FLOUR? or TONS OF OIL? …I dunno. Probably all three. Please read on.

    After my first sent, in 2003, I started on the usual statin, low-fat lifestyle. But, after reading The Great Cholesterol Con and visiting http://www.westonaprice.org/ I was CONVINCED (just what I wanted to hear) this SATFAT thing was BS and I went on to joyfully eat copious amounts of butter, burgers, steaks, chicken, pork and any other kind of meat. Burgers twice a day? Why not? SATFAT is not gonna harm me. It’s ALL been a lie. Gorge yourself in SATFATS because they are harmless AND as the study shows above, there is “no relationship” between SATFATS and CVD.

    Last month I had another mild heart attack and another stent put in my RCA.

    Good times.

    Now, AGAIN, was it the SATFATS? GENES? WHITE FLOUR? REFINED OILS? Not sure. But, after reading the above article, I am “reassured” that I can go right back to eating burgers..as fatty as I can get them. Right?

    Isn’t that what the study and article implies?

    I am currently following a low-fat NO OIL (none period) vegan diet promoted by the book PREVENT and REVERSE HEART DISEASE by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Only.

    I won’t go into detail here, but his LONG TERM study of 18 patients with SEVERE, heart disease showed that following this way of eating STOPPED and REVERSED, yes I typed REVERSED, their heart disease. PROVEN. PERIOD. END OF STORY.

    Trust me, I am NOT a “pro-animal” nut job. (although I do love my two german shepherds) In fact, if you (Chris) or any one else can show me a PROVEN diet, PROVEN, that allows me to eat beef, fish, chicken, pork or any other creature and will STOP and REVERSE MY HEART DISEASE, I will start chowing down on the nearest animal near me. (except my two german shepherds)

    Unless and UNTIL there is such a diet that includes saturated fat (and oils) and can CURE me of my CVD. Then I don’t want to even BOTHER with the debate anymore. This diet will CURE me. Period.

    For those of you who will undoubtably respond with, “..I never said that SATFATS are harmless!” or “…well you ate TOO much SATFAT.” Well, I say which is it? Moderation? Which could mean a moderate amount of CVD? Or, if you think it was the OILS and not the SATFATS, well olive oil has 2 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. So are oils good or bad?

    If you go by studies using the brachial artery tourniquet test, oils and satfats DO harm the endothelium of the the arteries.

    Look, it may be unclear what EXACTLY are the foods that cause or contribute to heart disease, but, this diet that I am on is the ONLY diet, that I am aware of, that will stop and reverse heart disease.

    Dave

    • You became aware of the WAPF and then ate burgers with refined flour buns cooked in vegetable oil twice a day, and you blame your subsequent heart attack on saturated fat? Sorry, that does not compute.

      There is no “END OF STORY” from a study of 18 people. Period.

      There are copious studies – which I’ve written about all over this blog – showing that saturated fat does not cause heart disease. Please show me a single study that shows a causal relationship between the two. You can’t, because there isn’t

      You can’t even show me long-term studies indicating that saturated fat consumption raises cholesterol levels. They don’t exist.

      I have many patients – including my father – who have reversed all indicators of heart disease by following a high saturated fat Paleo-type diet.

      Want proof this is possible? In this study in American Clinical Journal of Nutrition, they separated women into 4 groups according to saturated fat intake. Guess what? The women who ate the least saturated fat (and the most carbs) had the highest rates of heart disease, and the women who ate the highest amounts of saturated fat actually reversed their atherosclerosis.

      I’m sorry to hear of your struggles with heart disease, but you can’t blame it on a high-fat diet free of refined flour and seed oils, since that’s not what you were doing. There are many, many people doing just that who are thriving without heart disease.

      • Chris:
        They study concludes: “In postmenopausal women with relatively low total fat intake, a greater saturated fat intake is associated with less progression of coronary atherosclerosis, whereas carbohydrate intake is associated with a greater progression.”

        Less progression. Not halted.

        Chris, I have documented heart disease. You are comfortable with telling me that I can choose a diet high in saturated fats, (but with no refined carbs or sugars) and my disease will stop and reverse?

        Dave

        • BTW, Chris Esselstyn’s program forbids simple carbs (flour) and vegetable oils. Not just saturated fat. So he is trying to eliminate all factors.

          I agree, I turned a blind eye to the “white flour buns” and “vegetable oils”, and I do agree with the studies you mention above. In fact, Anthony Colpo and I have exchanged emails often on the SATFAT/HEART DISEASE paradigm.

          I made an attempt in my original post to acknowledge that I am UNSURE about what dietary factors continued my CVD. Plus, I do miss eating animal fats.

          Still its hard for me to ignore studies that show, “The consumption of high-fat foods causes damage to the endothelial cells, inhibiting nitiric oxide production, and begins the cascade of events leading to heart disease.” ~ Dr. Esselstyn

          Read more at Suite101: A Single High-Fat Meal Impairs Cardiovascular Function | Suite101.com http://www.suite101.com/content/a-single-high-fat-meal-impairs-cardiovascular-function-a370227#ixzz1SKiUFZlI

          It’s hard to keep a clear path with so many conflicting studies.

          Dave

          • That is exactly why Esselstyn’s program works to the degree that it does: because it removes flour and vegetable oils.

            And that is why you can’t draw any conclusions from studies that don’t control for confounding variables, like Esselstyn’s and Ornish’s. Sure, if you take a bunch of people on a Standard American Diet and put them on a vegetarian diet that removes flour, seed oils and sugar, they’re going to feel a lot better. But that doesn’t prove it had anything to do with removing saturated fat. In order to know that, you’d have to have a control group that also removed flour, seed oils and sugar, but continued to eat saturated fat. And guess what? We do have a few studies like that. They compared the Mediterranean Diet with the Paleo diet, and the Paleo diet produced more significant improvements in blood lipids, blood sugar and other cardiovascular risk factors. Here’s one, and here’s another.

            Esselstyn’s claims don’t hold water, because they’ve never been verified in well-controlled studies. If saturated fats “lead to the cascade of events causing heart disease”, then why (after more than 40 trials) are there no studies that show any causative relationship between the two? And how is it possible, then, to have traditional cultures like the Inuit and Masai who get between 70-90% of their calories from saturated fat, and have no heart disease whatsoever? There are so many problems with Esselstyn’s argument it’s hard to know where to start.

            • this is old and maybe someone already posted: that article about the high-fat meal impairment? The high fat meal was a sandwich consisting of bread, whole milk (12g of sugar per 8oz. and ice cream – which is loaded with sugar). Yet it was the fat that impaired.

              The risks associated with one high-fat meal

              The study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology evaluated systemic arterial compliance at regular intervals following the consumption of either a low-fat or high-fat meal. Arterial compliance is the measurement of the arteries’ ability to expand in response to increases in blood pressure as the heart pumps. Participants in the study were separated into two groups. The first group consumed a meal consisting of 67% of calories from fat in the form of a ham and cheese sandwich, whole milk and ice cream. Significant impairment was seen within six hours after the consumption of the high-fat meal as arterial compliance fell 27%.

              The second group consumed a meal consisting of cereal, skim milk, and fruit, a meal consisting of 10% of calories from fat. At six hours, there were no significant changes in arterial compliance in this group. This study highlights the detrimental effects of a single high-fat meal on cardiovascular function. Despite its surprising findings of the effects of one high-fat meal, this study does not stand alone in its implication of a high-fat diet and cardiovascular disease.

              Read more at Suite101: A Single High-Fat Meal Impairs Cardiovascular Function | Suite101 http://suite101.com/article/a-single-high-fat-meal-impairs-cardiovascular-function-a370227#ixzz2M28EXJX8
              Follow us: @suite101 on Twitter | Suite101 on Facebook

        • Here’s a slide from one of my presentations with a chart from that study. Notice that in women in the fourth (highest) quartile of saturated fat intake, the progression of atherosclerosis reversed.

          Yes, I’m completely comfortable telling you to eat saturated fat with heart disease. Heart disease is caused by inflammation and oxidative damage – not by saturated fat. I’ve written an entire series on how to minimize dietary and lifestyle risk factors that cause inflammation and oxidative damage. That is what you should be focused on. But you have to make your own decision, of course. I don’t provide medical advice to individuals over the Internet, and this should not be construed as such. I am simply educating you and explaining what the (good) research says.

          • I think oxidation and inflammations are key here to notice.

            However, we, humans can’t avoid oxidation completely. Even the air we breathe oxidizes us which means we progress towards death from the day we are born.

            Having said that, I have been reading about “anti-oxidants” such as water, omega acids, fish oils (salmon,cod) , green tea, Tulsi , Turmeric and few other herbs that slow down the oxidation process.

            How is your take on these “anti-oxidants”?

        • Dave you must do independent research. Most people with heart disease have normal cholesterol levels. Heart disease is caused by inflammation. This is why so many diabetics risk developing heart disease as well. Cholesterol protects against inflammation but many people, especially doctors remove this protectant, exposing themselves to more inflammation.

          • Mary, but what do you consider a normal cholesterol level? I believe the AHA considers 150-200 to be normal, yet in the Framingham Heart Study no-one with a TC of 150 or less had any heart disease. “Normal” is obviously too high.

      • “You can’t even show me long-term studies indicating that saturated fat consumption raises cholesterol levels. ”

        Kris,

        I don’t know nor do I care if there are any such studies. I KNOW for a fact that saturated fat raises MY cholesterol, especially my LDL. It was never more clearly demonstrated than when I was on a LCHF diet. I kept my carbs around 50g/day. Over the years, I’ve kept copies of all my blood tests. I can see plainly how diet affects my test results. For me, that is the ONLY “study” that matters.

        • Rob, I would love to see copies of your blood tests. Show me that your cholesterol / triglyceride levels worsened. Note that I said worsened.

      • Chris, you comment that you can’t give medical advise on over the internet. Shouldn’t you disclose that you should not give MEDICAL advise to anyone since you are not qualified?

        Also, you put down the fella who had a study with only 18 in it yet you preach on and on about a pale study that had fewer than that and even rave about a study (a small on that is more of a hypothesis driver than one to rely on) about postmenopausal women who already have heart disease. (for those who don’t know, how you metabolize nutrients depends heavily on your state of insulin resistance, age and hormones) So this study hardly apples to anyone.

        Maybe you should post some high quality studies that clearly demonstrate that diets high in saturated fats are good for the heart? What is that you say….you can’t

        • Lot of studies suggesting the negative impact of saturated fats on lipids and chemical mediators and messengers. The difficulty is when we look at epidemiological data and how it bears out. I fully agree with you and saturated fats though. All the data on exchanging polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats suggests that you are better off with more Polys and less saturated. I would also like to point out to anyone who does believe that saturated fats may not be that bad that just because you don’t think they are bad means that they are good. There is no data to suggest that.

    • Dave you are going in the right direction….stick to that whole plant-based diet with 5 to 10% good fats like flaxseeds, walnuts or a small amount of wild salmon once a week and you will reverse your heart disease besides lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure.
      The above article has too much BS in it to separate the wheat from the shaft so it is just best to ignore the whole thing and still with your plan. Esselstyn and Ornish have been successful in reversing heart disease and did not do it by pushing any kind of fat or simple carbs. Maybe this or that is wrong in their plans and they restricted too much but better to get the right results and learn twenty years later exactly what caused your arteries to gum up…

      • I think you mean “separate the wheat from the chaff”.

        It might be helpful to go back and review the process of plaque formation, since you seem to have the wrong idea if you think arteries “gum up”.

    • Your tendency to use ALL CAPS indicates anger…… you might want to check into the connection of emotions to heart issues. The connection is much stronger there.

    • Hi Dave…
      My doctor thinks I have heart disease because my sugars were elevated but pre-diabetic, although she is black and white about that. She wanted me on a statin and I asked how long and she said forever. Well, that did not sit well with me.
      I embarked on a 4 year health turnaround.
      Like yourself, I tried low carb, high carb, low fat, high fat when i did Atkins.
      For 20 years I had elevated blood sugars and cholesterol yet no progression. This time I was on a reverse pre-diabetes.
      It was simple actually…. use stevia, NO sugar, no aspartame, hence NO soda pop. Yep, I drink water with lemon or lime now.
      I eat clean almost exclusively …. fruits, veggies, raw nuts, organic eggs, plain greek yogurt (can make your own heaithy smoothies with berries and veggies (fruit trumps veggies when it comes to making smoothies that taste good, organic milk, 100% nut butters, make my own humus and always eat a fat with every meal or snack. Instead of grains I eat legumes.
      My only fats are virgin coconut oil for hot foods, non fake olive oil for cold foods. I do eat other saturated foods like avocados.
      I hope this gives you the perspective that only you can design your health diet for life.
      Read labels and do not buy packaged foods frozen or otherwise.
      Learn about pH and why eating alkaline stops diseases.
      Learn about GMO foods and why they are dangerous, especially corn, soy, sugar, canola etc.
      Basically I eat the mediterranean way of eating.
      If you think it is too restrictive, play with herbs, and high fiber foods.
      I have 2 desserts but sparingly; figs and dark chocolate and believe me when I say, love my food.
      A respected doctor who understands nutrition said it is 80% diet and 20% exercise.
      Last year the head doctor read my chart as I had to see him and not my regular doc… and he made my day, week, month and year when he looked at me and said your diabetes is gone.
      You have no choice but to find your own way now…. and trust your body…. it will respond to your not eating food that is not really food such as the fillers and chemicals that are lurking in all packaged foods.

    • The study does not say you can consume saturated fat or it is healthy. The study says it has to be studied more…basically.

      You are correct that there is no diet currently to reverse heart disease or diabetes that includes loads of any fat or oil.

      The title and contents of this article is not representative of the conclusion of the study. The proper conclusion is that no link of saturated fat to heart disease was found in previous studies. That is far, far different than proving that saturated fat does not cause heart disease or any other sickness.

      I think people consuming 200 grams of saturated fat daily are playing with fire. What is the proven benefit of consuming saturated fat??? Answer, none!!!!

  15. Not to mention how good coconut oil is for you and its a saturated fat. But heres the kicker theres no cholesterol in it what so ever. And people that consume it loose huge amounts of weight.

  16. Chris,

    I am 4 days into my 80-100 grams of sat fat per day diet. I got the bloodwork you recommended PRE diet but I will have to pay out of pocket to get it post. I may knock a few of the more expensive tests off of there sadly. It’s going well though feeling good. I just have to eat coconut milk to help me get the numbers because I am not hungry enough to eat that much grassfed beef. I will post an epic video of my feasts and the numbers as they come in. Thanks for all you do.

  17. Not sure what research you’re reading but I think you’ll find there’s good evidence that diets high in sat fat OR processed foods are equally detrimental to health. Fresh ingredients, cooked from scratch in moderate amounts is the way to go – not very exciting I know but that’e where the REAL scientific evidence leads.

    • KTJS–most of the studies of which you speak are epidimiological studies–studies that demo correlation, not causation. If people are told year-in, year-out that saturated fat is bad for them, the only people that will eat saturated fat are people who are otherwise unhealthy (smoking, drinking, leading sedentary lifestyles, etc.) In other words, it is unhealthy people eating saturated fat, not saturated fat making people unhealthy that leads to study results that perpetuate a myth that had very little to do with promoting human health in the first place.

      • But what entails an unhealthy person? How do you control for “healthiness” when you are putting to question what is and isn’t healthy?

      • There is no nail in the saturated fat coffin….this is just one more poorly done study.

        I look at the cultures that are long-living and healthy….eat like they do and you will not be consuming loads of saturated or any other kind of fat…

        Science is at least 100 years from proving what is healthy and what causes disease.

        • I suggest you like at the foods eaten by the Geres in SW France. They consume the highest amounts of fats in all of Europe and live the longest of any the other countries. The oldest living person recently died at 125 years old in that region. For the record the traditional okinawin people consume pork fat, in fact the entire pig is used over a period of time. I suggest you do a through Google search because like most people we have duped by selective cherry picking data and social engineering. What really counts is living of the land, consuming primal foods and in the case of animal fat consumption; cattle must be grass/ forage fed only ( feedlot cattle produce high levels of omega 6 fats which oxidise and contribute to cancer, autoimmune and heart disease and in addition decrease the omega 3 fatty acid and also the saturated fats which protects against oxidation); dairy should be from a2 cows ( or goats and sheep). Dairy products must come from a single herd (not from dozens of cattle) with a bull. Milk in these regions is not bio-engineered, homoginised nor even pastureised thus enabling the transitioning of beneficial gut bacteria. As well the cattle are not given given antibiotics, pesticides or growth hormones. There is a saying ‘you must compare apples with apples..Cheers

    • Why are you not sure what research Chris is referencing? It’s right in the article above. Numerous studies show NO link between saturated fat intake and heart disease. Do a search…..there is literally NO legitimate study that links saturated fat to heart disease.

      • Some of you need to improve your reading skills. The study conclusion was not that saturated fat is not harmful.
        The conclusion is that there is no evidence currently that it is harmful…
        Big difference folks! As I have repeatedly stated, look at the long-living cultures that are healthy for your guidance till science develops in the next 100 years…
        Too many studies are directed at specific components, like saturated fat, rather than the overall impact of foods.

    • Instead of being spoon fed the conclusions of these studies it might behoove you to dig into the internals and check their methodology. With an honest look you will see the bad logic and dishonest approaches- Bad Science. Salt was killing us according to the Gov and so called experts backed by scientific studies. What a laff- new studies show many not getting enough salt and most needed no reduction. Salt does not cause many of the things they claimed. Beware of holding to these feel good causes because disproof is around the corner.

      • The evidence on salt is inconclusive….that is far from saying it is definitely healthy or unhealthy.

  18. high carb. diet
    and too much sugar intake, makes my body ache.

    if i eat a lot of sweets before bed, i wake up with a back ache

    • Oh my goodness, the same thing happens to me, I thought I was being silly, but glad to see someone else has the same outcome!!

  19. I’ve been doing low carb for about 15 years, and whenever I go off, I feel terrible. When I go off, I notice swelling and my joints hurt – I’m wondering how many people with fybromyalgia (or who think they have it) might be helped with a low carb diet. The gluten thing may be related too. What it all comes down to for me is that Nature or God or whoever you believe in seems to provide the best food for all animals – we would naturally eat meat and vegetables. Bread, rice, pasta (especially refined ones) are not a natural source of food – we created them, not to mention the fake fats, as you mentioned. Sure, the best way is to eat a balanced diet, but if I’m going to cheat, I think I’m better off with something high fat than something high carb. I think we’re going to see a lot more of these studies refuting the high fat myth.

      • Suzi is probably trying to say that, relative to the meat, vege & fruit cavemen diet, bread, rice & pasta are relatively new & unntarual, as cavemen didn’t plant crops to harvest for wheat, to be further processed into such relatively modern food items.

      • it depends what kind of rice you get at the store. White, par boiled rice is junk… sorry but it is. Brown rice that hasn’t been touched is better, or brown sprouted rice is even better. Or the untouched rice of different variety, like wild, African black, etc.

        • I think white or par boiled rice is a better option. Less antinutriens, easy to digest, doesn’t cause much irritation and inflammation in bowels unlike “healthy” Brown rice. Brown rice cause the same insulin spike like white rice. White rice is not ideal food but still much better option. Same goes about white bread vs whole-grain bread. Eat the least harmful.

      • Unless you get your grain and rice direct from farmers you trust, none of these foods are natural in that over the years…they are manipulated and not worth eating if you are the kind of human than has no sugar nor gluten problems.
        The term ‘natural’ has become very very contentious to those of us who support farm to table eating. The middle guy like the giant food manufacturers will never provide natural foods unless they are non GMO and are committed to organics etc. I do trust a few manufacturers like Nutiva because I cannot make my own coconut oil…. and they do a great job.
        In other words…know your manufacturer.

    • I had the same issue… dropping carbs that included grains, even whole grains made me feel weak and that is why I would go off my low carb eating. However, after eating clean for a few years, I still had some belly fat…so I dropped ALL wheat grains and traded for legumes. Raw nut snacking throughout the day with berries and make some dark chocolate from france.
      The belly fat is gone and believe me when I say I will never eat that way again.

    • Rather than looking at studies like this one that are not conclusive and a long way from a nail in any coffin you should study the diets of the long-lived cultures like the old Okinawan women now in or near 100 years old.
      Further, of the five Blue Zone areas that are long-lived, all of them are 80% or higher of whole plant-based food.
      You people that are waiting for ultimate studies and consuming red meat and dairy in “moderation” also have clogged arteries and dying of heart disease.

  20. Totally agree with your comments. The only problem is that the margerine manufacturers don’t, and guess who has more money to buy more influence?

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