The Truth about Saturated Fat

The Truth about Saturated Fat

The news media and even the medical establishment has demonized all fats as being bad for you. Back in the 50s and 60s doctors postulated that saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet was leading to the increased incidence of coronary heart disease. The truth is that there is very little evidence to support this theory. In fact, prior to 1920 coronary heart disease was rare. Today, heart disease causes at least 40% of all deaths in America. During this time, animal fat consumption in America has declined from 83% to 62% and butter consumption has decreased from 18 pounds per person per year to 4. Research studies have shown that by decreasing saturated fat in ones diet you increase a persons risk for death from cancer, brain hemorrhage, suicide and violent death. Studies from Northern India, Japan, France, and the study of Eskimo's has shown that these people can consume a high percent of their caloric intake from animal fats and be virtually free from heart disease.

Saturated fats have many benefits. They constitute at least 50% of our cell membranes and are responsible for maintaining proper integrity. Eating saturated fats improves cardiovascular risk factors. They help raise levels of HDL, the so called good cholesterol, and they lower lipoprotein(a) (also called Lp(a)) which is a substance that is strongly correlated with risk for heart disease. They play a vital role in the health of our bones allowing calcium to become incorporated into the skeletal structure. Saturated fat enhances our immune system and improves lung function.

The true cause of heart disease is not from eating animal fats and cholesterol but rather the eating habits of our modern day society. Most of us have become so overwhelmed with work that we have left no time or energy to prepare healthy, wholesome meals. The Standard American Diet is truly SAD! This includes the consumption of partially hydrogenated fats and oils, excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour, vitamin and mineral deficiencies from poor digestion, lack of physical activity, and the over exposure to heavy metals and other environmental toxins.

In addition to having an active lifestyle, the best way to prevent heart disease is by consuming a diet that provides animal foods rich in vitamins B6 and B12, preferably animals that are raised free range and are hormone and antibiotic free. We should consume a wide variety of organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and drink purified water. It is best to consume fresh whole natural foods and avoid processed foods. As a general rule: if it comes in a bag, box or can – avoid it. If you must eat processed food, learn to read labels. Avoid any food that contains partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn oil, safflower oil and canola are the worst oils you can eat and use for cooking, as these are rich in unhealthy omega-6 fats. They also tend to become easily oxidized or rancid when exposed to heat from cooking, which results in the formation of trans-fat and damaging free radicals. Coconut oil is the ideal cooking oil. Do not be afraid to cook with real butter or even lard.

Here's to your health!

Clifford Fetters MD.
Health and Wellness of Carmel
11900 N. Pennsylvania, Suite 200, Carmel Indiana 46032
Phone: 317-663-7123