In my last blog I talked a little about saturated fat and cholesterol, and how they became our number 1 enemy. I also mentioned that there is now new evidence that suggests that they aren´t really that bad and that maybe we have been fighting the wrong ¨war¨ for the last 50-60 years. But, any doctor will tell you that saturated fat leads to cholesterol and that cholesterol is a mayor indicator of a cardio vascular disease, so what do we do??
If you go into PubMed and search for scientific articles that talk about risks of cardio-vascular disease you will find a lot of studies that say that saturated fat increases cholesterol, and that elevated blood cholesterol increases the risk of having a heart attack (1,2). But most of these studies are usually short termed controlled diet trials, or studies from more than a half a century ago. However, more recent and higher quality trials do not support that idea (3-6). Meaning, saturated fats don´t lead to higher levels of cholesterol in the blood. So it seems that, after all, saturated fat and cholesterol weren´t that bad. But if they are not the cause of this cardio-vascular epidemic then was is??.
In the 1970´s after Ancel Keys study came out and he become member of American Heart Association, the US government and the Heart Association started waging their war on saturated fat and people started listening. Saturated fat consumption went down over the next 30 years but Cardio-vascular diseases did not, instead there was even more. What happened is that when you take fat out of the food, the food tastes like crap, it really doesn´t taste like anything. So what manufactures did was take the fat out of the food but add on ¨sugar¨, especially high fructose corn syrup sugar to give it some taste. In 1978 High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) entered the sweetener market and we changed drastically the way we ate. We started eating a diet high in carbohydrates and low on fat, which leads to a greater insulin production and insulin resistance at the same time. Insulin is the number one indicator for inducing inflammation of blood vessels.
Now, try to stick with me because it´s going to get a little complicated. Cancer, heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis,diabetes, osteoporosis, are examples of conditions that develop and exist as a consequence of chronic inflamation (7-10). Dietary imbalances are responsible for creating a diet-induced, pro-inflammatory state that leads to chronic inflamation. So, when the American Heart Association and the USA government recommended to reduce our intake of fat and increase our intake of carbohydrate to 60%, well they probably weren´t doing us a favor. Instead, the Mediterranean Diet, that consist of more saturated fat and less intake of sugar has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of heart disease (11-12). So, yes, saturated fat is not that bad and nearly every high-quality observational study ever conducted found that saturated fat intake is not associated with heart risk. So, in conclusion, I wouldn´t be so worried about saturated fat and cholesterol, but instead I would be fearful of all the ¨sugar- high corn fructose syrup¨ we are consuming.
In my next post I will change topics and start talking about ¨pain¨. Most of us have at one point or another gone to the chiropratic or osteopath, when they ¨manipulate¨ us, what exactly are they doing? Is there really a subluxations (bone out of its place) and are they really putting the bone back in its place? We will find out.
P.S Here is a link to an interesting article http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/why-coke-and-pepsi-will-talk-obesity-but-not-diabetes_b77051
- Mensink RP, Zock PL, Kester AD, Katan MB. Effects of dietary fatty acidas and carbohydrates on the ration of seum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr,2003 May;77(5):1146-55.
- Iso H, Jacobs DR Jr, Wentworth D, Neaton ID, Cohen ID. Serum Cholesterol levels and six-year mortality from strok in 350,977 men screened for the multiple risk factor intervention trial. N Engl Med. 1989 Apr 6;320(14):904-10-
- Kahn HA, Medlie JH, Neufeld NH, Riss E, Balogh M, Groen IJ. Serum cholestero: its distruibution and association with dietary and other variables in a survey of 10,000 men. Isr J Med Sci. 1969 Nov-Dec;5(6) 1117-27.
- Djousse L, Gaziano IM. Dietary cholesterol and coronary artery disease: a systematic review. Curr Atheroscler Rep,2009 Nov;11(6):418-22.
- Santos FL, Esteves SS, da Costa Pereira A, Yancy WS, JR, Nune JP. Systematic reviw and meta-analysis of clincal trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors. Obes Rev 2012 Nov; 13(11):1048-66.
- Yamagishi K, Iso H, Yatsuya H,, Tanabe N, Date C, Kikuchi S, Yamamoto A, Inaba Y, Tamakosi A, Dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and mortality from cardiovascular diseae in Japanese: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk. Am J Clin Nutr, 2010 Oct;92(4):759-65.
- Balkwill F, Mantovani A. Inflammation and cancer back to Virchow? Lancert.2001;357:539-45.
- Ban WA, Man SF, Senthilselvan A, Sinn DD. Association between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and systemic inflammation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Thorax 2004;59:574-80.
- Fernandez-Real JM, Ricart W. Insulin resitance and chronic cardiovascualr inflammatory syndrome. Endo Rev 2003;24:278-301.
- Ross R. Atherosclerosis-an inflammatory disease. N Engl J Med 1999;340:115-26.
- Mackenbach JP. 2007. The Mediterranean diet story illustrates that ‘‘why’’ questions are as important as ‘‘how’’ questions in disease explanation. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 60(2): 105-109.
- Serra-Majem Ll, Roman B y Estruch R. 2006. Scientific evidence of Interventions using the mediterranean diet: A systematic review. Nutrition Reviews 64 (Supl 1): S27-S47
- Time to end the war against saturated fat? (latimes.com)
- The Truth About Saturated Fats (mensjournal.com)
- Saturated fat heart disease ‘myth’ (bbc.co.uk)