A meta study (a study of other studies) published in the January 2010 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that there is “no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.” (CHD is coronary heart disease and CVD is cardiovascular disease.
Nutrition myths are often oversimplified and recirculated in the media. That’s why people have come to believe that eating saturated fats makes them gain weight, causes high cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases. The latest research shows that this simply isn’t true.
A recent article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) puts to rest a decades-old myth: Saturated fat is NOT bad for the heart. This is news I’ve long suspected! And we now have science to support it. Fat is not the enemy when it comes to cardiovascular disease, weight gain, brain health, and so many other issues. It turns out that sugar — in all its many guises — is the real culprit for making you fat. What it also means is that because sugar causes inflammation throughout the body, it increases your risk of cardiovascular disease — and just about everything else!
We’ve all been sold a bill of goods about so-called healthy low-fat foods like cookies and muffins. When you begin to read labels, you’ll quickly see how much sugar is added to just about everything, especially to low-fat foods. When the fat is removed, so is the flavor. To make it more palatable, sugar, sugar substitutes, and salt are added in its place. And as you continue to read labels, I think you’ll be surprised by how much sugar is also in so-called healthy foods, like yogurt, tomato sauce, many fruit juices — even some salad dressings.
I can tell you without a doubt, it’s the sugar that so many of us struggle with, not the fat. Think about it. It’s NOT the burger with cheese and bacon that’s the issue. It’s the ketchup, the bun, and the fries. These are all carbs that instantly raise your blood sugar, because they are higher on the glycemic index than plain old table sugar. This is what I mean by sugar in all its guises.
Foods with little fat and loaded with sugar don’t leave you satiated after a meal — at least not for long. We need the fat to feel sated. Without it, we crave more sugary foods — until we learn to switch to or at least incorporate better food choices. It’s like being on a blood sugar roller coaster. Your body is subjected to the blood sugar highs and lows, and you literally NEED the sugar to feel OK when you’re in one of the lows.
So let’s not kid ourselves anymore about what’s really making us fat. Sugar is the leading culprit today in causing inflammation. Inflammation is the leading cause of many common diseases.
- Sugar is connected to an increased risk of heart attack and dementia, as well as other inflammatory diseases, such as insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver problems, arthritis, reduction in beneficial HDL cholesterol, increase in triglycerides, and cancer.
- Those with the highest sugar intake had a 400 percent higher risk of heart attack than those with the lowest intake of sugar. Note the current recommendation by the American Heart Association: One’s daily intake of sugar should be only 5-7.5 percent of one’s total caloric intake.
- It takes only one 20-ounce soda to increase your risk of heart attack by 30 percent.
- If you consume 20 percent of your calories from sugar, your risk of heart attack doubles.
Here’s the bottom line: You don’t have to limit healthy fat in your diet. What you have to limit are trans fats and sugars. Period. End of story. So what does that look like on your plate? About one-third of your plate can be some kind of protein, including beans, tofu, or lentils. And the rest should be vegetables of all kinds. Healthy fats, like avocados, coconut oil, and grass fed natural butter, not margarine (which is made from oils), can be used liberally. And here is the truth. Healthy fats are so satisfying that you won’t be tempted to overindulge. It’s only when they are combined with starch or sugar that the fats become a problem. Limit grains and fruits. But remember, there is no one size fits all dietary equation that is right for everybody. A lot depends on the season, your constitution, and other factors.