Saturated fat: friend or foe?


For decades conventional medicine has warned us about the dangers of having high levels of cholesterol in the body. It can kill us!- they have repeated over and over again. This belief has permeated all planes of society and you can see the fear it causes even in children! The general belief is that cholesterol-rich foods will definitely kill you! Stay away from it at all cost! Eat a low fat diet or suffer the consequences! Their usual argument is that there are thousands of studies that prove it, as well as the WHO guidelines that were created “by the world’s greatest experts”. Their documents argue that saturated fat raises cholesterol.

But the main problem here, which these people have never questioned before, is that cholesterol is not a disease! So high levels of it cannot be a disease either!

Do we really shorten our lifespan or develop a mortal cardiovascular disease by eating saturated fats in our diet?

To claim that saturated fat raises cholesterol is not enough and the theory or proposition that high cholesterol is a a risk factor for having a heart attack or a stroke is only a hypothesis. The evidence that proves these people wrong abounds in the scientific community but it has been silenced. Here’s some evidence that the cholesterol myth is a hoax and that saturated fat is not our enemy, but our friend!

Let’s start by saying that researchers have found that high cholesterol is rather advantageous.

More than 20 studies have shown that elderly people with high cholesterol live longer than elderly people with low cholesterol.

The Maasai tribe from Kenya and Tanzania have the lowest cholesterol ever measured in healthy people, and yet, they have a diet based on raw red meat and animal blood, and a whopping percentage of what they eat is very high in saturated fat.

Studies have revealed that the cholesterol of people who usually gorge on saturated fat is on average no higher than the cholesterol of people who avoid saturated fat. Can you believe this! This is true!

30 or more studies have shown that patients who have suffered from a myocardial infarction or a stroke had not eaten more saturated fat than healthy individuals – check the article by Ravnksow, in the medical journal Cinical Epidimiology 1998;51:443-460 and the paper published by Leaosdottir M and colleagues on the Journal Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation 2007; 14: 701-6.

Many unsuccessful trials on the evil effects of saturated fats on our health have been run and have been unsuccessful. By 1997 nine of these trials had been published as “meta-analysis” and their results had shown that a reduction of saturated fat had not had any effect! In a few of these trials fewer people died from myocardial infarctions, but in just as many trials the mortality figures increased – Hooper L and colleagues – BMJ (British Medical Journal), 2001; 322:757-63.

So why is saturated fat still seen as such a menace? The truth is that the fear-mongering information about saturated fat & cholesterol being a deadly killer has been manipulated over the years, and it all began with the infamous work by Ancel Keys.

Briefly, Ancel Keys was a not even a scientist, but an American professor in physiology. He wrote a paper in 1953 which changed the course of nutrition to this day in very dangerous ways! He stated in this paper that myocardial infarction is caused by high fat diets. To prove this, he used a diagram showing the association between the fat consumed in 6 countries and their mortality rates. He convinced everybody with his findings, however, they were all flawed and based on approximations and didn’t reflect at all what people were actually eating, but the fat that was being consumed for general kitchen purposes (to feed animals, to catch mice, most was thrown away due to poor storage, etc.).

Keys went to all the lengths to promote his ideology and even excluded data that didn’t his hypothesis.

It’s interesting to see that many doctors’ diagnosis can also be wrong. In a Swedish study, Dr.s George D. Lundberg and Gerhard Voigt demonstrated that half of the patients whose cause of death had been recorded as myocardial infarction in their death certificate, had died from something else.

In recent years, the Paleo Diet and the Ketogenic Diet which promote a free consumption of saturated fats and very low carbs have demonstrated tremendous healing and therapeutic results, successfully combating diabetes and obesity. These diets have proven that consuming high amounts of saturated fats has actually a powerful healing effect.

The work of Dr. Harlan Krumholz of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University is very interesting as well. He reported in 1994 that old people with low cholesterol died twice as often from a heart attack as did old people with high cholesterol. To go straight to the point, most studies of old people have shown that high cholesterol is not a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

And did you know that people with low cholesterol also have an increased risk of dying from diseases of the stomach, the gut, and the lungs? Check the paper by Jacobs D and colleagues in the medical journal Circulation 1992; 56:1046-60.

Now consider that more than 90 % of all cardiovascular disease is seen in people above age 60 also and that almost all studies have found that high cholesterol is not a risk factor for women. This means that high cholesterol is only a risk factor for less than 5 % of those who die from a heart attack.

Six of the studies found that total mortality was inversely associated with either total or LDL-cholesterol, or both. This means that it is actually much better to have high than to have low cholesterol if you want to live to be very old.

What about familial hypercholesterolemia?

Less than ½% of humans are born with much higher cholesterol than the rest of us. This genetic abnormality is called “familial hypercholesterolemia”. It is a genetic flaw. For many years familial hypercholesterolemia has been considered a “disease” because people who die from a heart attack before their 50’s usually have familial hypercholesterolemia. Because cholesterol if often present in large amounts within atherosclerotic lesions, Goldstein and Brown concluded that high cholesterol was the cause of atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction, not only in people with familial hypercholesterolemia but in all of us. Their arguments were convincing and they won the Nobel Prize in 1985. But today there is much evidence that shows that they were wrong!

Let’s start by saying that people with familial hypercholesterolemia die young because of cholesterol, is a wrong belief. The many healthy people today living long lives beyond their 70’s that have familial hypercholesterolemia is proof enough that this belief is outdated and wrong.

A great study by a group of Dutch researchers showed that high cholesterol may even be protective!

Many other studies have found that low cholesterol is in certain respects worse than high cholesterol. They showed that lipoproteins, the molecules that transport cholesterol, have also other important functions. One of them is to bind and neutralize bacteria, viruses, and their toxic by-products in our body! So cholesterol has an important immune function and it protects us from catching contagious diseases! This means that low cholesterol is a risk for all kinds of infectious diseases!

Other findings have demonstrated more benefits of cholesterol. In 19 large studies of more than 68,000 deaths, reviewed by Professor David R. Jacobs and his co-workers from the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, low cholesterol predicted an increased risk of dying from gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases.

Most gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases have an infectious origin.

So, if saturated fat doesn’t cause cardiovascular disease… what does?

What triggers hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart disease is not eating fat, but eating sugar. If your breakfasts are based on breads or cereals; your morning snacks are biscuits and coffee; your lunches are wraps or sandwiches; your afternoon snacks are chocolate bars and muffins; and your dinners are spaghetti with wine, I will highly recommend you get tested for inflammatory markers of cardiovascular disease.

Let’s talks about inflammation

Inflammation of the arteries will cause atheroma, also called plaque. The plaque will cause the stroke or the infarction. So the question is: what causes the inflammation? The answer is simple, and it’s again the same as above: sugar! What sugar? Well, the sugar in your coffee, in your pain au chocolat, in your breakfast porridge, in your cereals, in your ready meals, the naturally occurring in your potatoes, in your pasta, in your alcoholic drinks, in your desserts, and in your juices and sodas.

Inflammation is also caused by smoking; by having chronic stress totally unmanaged; by lack of or excess exercise; by toxins from chemicals that you ingest or apply on your skin, your teeth, and scalp; by poor sleep; by shallow breathing… and by excessive exposure to electro-magnetic waves from electronic devices.

A diet poor in antioxidants is a huge problem. Charred meats, bbq meats, high meat consumption without fruits and vegetables, a SAD diet (standard American diet) with poor fiber and high processed foods, is a much more worrying problem than saturated fat on its own.

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