We’ve been told for decades that saturated fat—the kind found in eggs, meats, including pork and beef, and numerous dairy products like butter—causes heart disease. Is that true, and where did the notion come from?
According to Caroline Barringer, NTP, in the May/June ’10 Well Being Journal, “The study supporting this saturated fat scare, known as the ‘Lipid Hypothesis,’ was proposed in the 1950s by American physiologist Ancel Keys, Ph.D. However, the fats used in this study were hydrogenated, processed fats, known to be extremely irritating to the body, particularly the vascular system.”
Could we have been mistaken about natural saturated fats all these years? It’s starting to appear that way. Back to Barringer:
“Saturated fatty acids from healthy sources nourish the vascular system, enhance immune function, protect the liver from certain toxins (including alcohol), aid in calcium absorption and increase cellular membrane integrity.”
Heart disease was rare before the 1920s but spiked considerably after that as Americans began using processed vegetable and refined oils for cooking via margarine and shortening.
Refined carbohydrates became more easily accessible as well, foods that flood the bloodstream with simple sugar, causing insulin release to help convert it into triglycerides and store it in your fat cells. The resulting blood-fat overload can damage blood vessels. Note that natural saturated-fat foods are digested slowly, so there is not an excess to overwhelm your bloodstream.
It’s becoming apparent that the real culprits in heart disease are processed fats and refined carbohydrates. Eat accordingly for your health’s sake.