Are saturated fats really bad? YES, if you read any of the official guidance from organisations like the NHS, The British Heart Foundation or the American Heart Foundation. AND YET....increasingly not every scientist buys this.I’ll concentrate on one cardiologist, Dr Aseem Malhotra, who published a fascinating – and controversial – article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, part of the BMJ. In it, Malhotra says that:
- systematic reviews and meta-analyses concluded that there is no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease (CHD), CHD mortality or ischaemic stroke in healthy adults.
- a diet of unrestricted fat, supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and nuts results in less CHD than diet restricted in fat.
- replacing saturated fat with seed oils (industrial oils: canola, rapeseed, sunflower and also soy) increases mortality risk despite significant reductions in LDL and total cholesterol.
- the main risk factors for CHD are insulin resistance (too much weight, too little physical activity) and chronic inflammation (refined carbohydrates, too much omega 6 from seed oils, too little omega 3).
- chronic stress increases cortisol levels, which result in failure to down-regulate the inflammatory response, causing increases in CHD.
Elsewhere, Malhotra asks how is it that the Masai, who eat only meat and animal products, have literally no CHD? Similarly, consider the study of the Alaskan Inuit that noted that 1956–1958 these people consumed 50% of their calories from animal fat, yet there was little - if any - clinical manifestation of cardiovascular disease. Indeed, the incidence of CHD based on autopsy studies was just 1% in Alaskan Inuit (1956–1958) versus 18.4% in the general American population (1950–1955). However, by the mid 1980s the Alaskan Inuit had an identical rate of heart disease mortality. The dietary difference that occurred over those years? A major increase in the intake of carbohydrates and simple sugars. Confusing, right? I guess we each have to make up our own minds…. NoamPS - the market reopens in September.