Conventional medical authorities say that consumption of saturated animal fats is bad for you and causes heart disease.
But a hundred years ago, fewer than than one in one hundred Americans were obese, and coronary heart disease was unknown. The Procter and Gamble started marketing Crisco as a new kind of food -- the first commercially marketed trans fat. Crisco was originally used to make candles and soap, but with electrification causing a decline in candle sales, Procter and Gamble decided to promote the fat as a â€œhealthierâ€ all-vegetable-derived shortening.
The demonization of saturated fat began in 1953, when Dr. Ancel Keys published a paper comparing saturated fat intake and heart disease mortality. His theory turned out to be flimsy, to say the least, but the misguided ousting of saturated fat has continued unabated ever since. Fortunately, the truth is finally starting to come out, as medical scientists have begun to seriously question Keys' findings.
Time to Put Ancel Keys' Theory to Rest
Keys based his theory on a study of six countries, in which higher saturated fat intake equated to higher rates of heart disease. However, he conveniently ignored data from 16 other countries that did not fit his theory. Had he chosen a different set of countries, the data would have shown that increasing the percent of calories from fat reduces the number of deaths from coronary heart disease.
And, as illustrated in the featured article, when you include all 22 countries for which data was available at the time of his study, you find that those who consume the highest percentage of saturated fat have the lowest risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, many have now realized that it's the trans fat found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that is the true villain, causing far more significant health problems than saturated fat ever could!
A meta-analysis published last year, which pooled data from 21 studies and included nearly 348,000 adults, found no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.
In a 1992 editorial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. William Castelli, a former director of the Framingham Heart study, stated:
"In Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person's serum cholesterol. The opposite of whatâ€¦ Keys et al would predictâ€¦We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active."
Another 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a reduction in saturated fat intake must be evaluated in the context of replacement by other macronutrients, such as carbohydrates.
When you replace saturated fat with a higher carbohydrate intake, particularly refined carbohydrate, you exacerbate insulin resistance and obesity, increase triglycerides and small LDL particles, and reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol. The authors state that dietary efforts to improve your cardiovascular disease risk should primarily emphasize the limitation of refined carbohydrate intake, and weight reduction.
Heart disease is so common today, it's hard for people to remember that a mere 100 years ago, this disease was really uncommon. As Dr. Donald Miller writes in the featured article:
"There were 500 cardiologists practicing in the U.S. in 1950. There are 30,000 of them now â€“ a 60-fold increase for a population that has only doubled since 1950."
Such an explosion of heart disease indicates that something has changed that is contributing to this epidemic.
What is that "something"?
Most likely, the studies that have linked the so-called "Western diet" to an increased heart disease risk simply confirm that sugar and refined carbohydrates are harmful to your heart health. Because although the Western diet is high in red and processed meats and saturated fats, it's also alarmingly high in sugar and refined carbs like bread and pasta. And, as concluded in the last study listed above, when you reduce saturated fat and increase refined carbohydrates, you end up promoting obesity, heart disease and diabetes...
Gary Taubes has also done an excellent job of explaining the connection between carbs and obesity and its related health issues in his book Why We Get Fat: and what to do about it.
In a nutshell, eating fat and protein does not make you fatâ€”carbohydrates do.I firmly believe the two primary keys for successful weight management and reducing your risk for diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related health problems are:
Severely restricting carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains) in your diet, and
Increasing healthy fat consumption
I only C&Ped parts of the article. Be sure to go read the entire thing.
I can say that Scrappy and I did the Atkins diet one time and had great results with it. The only problem was that it did not include enough veggies but said you could eat all the meat you wanted. It would be much better to balance the meat and veggies and eliminate most processed carbs. Especially those white starchy carbs.
I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children… - Wendell Berry, 1971