For years saturated fat was lumped into the same category as trans fats in terms of being a major contributor to heart disease. At first when researchers wanted to re-examine this ‘fact’, it was difficult to even get funding because it was considered such an obvious given that saturated fat was a killer. However, new research shows that cholesterol has absolutely nothing to do with heart disease. I know this probably sounds preposterous and I understand that it is hard to de-program this after years of hearing otherwise. Even some doctors are still not up to date with the new research.
Previously it had been believed that saturated fats raised cholesterol, especially LDL—the “bad” cholesterol. Now researchers are finding this is not the case. It’s not even the case that LDL cholesterol is necessarily “bad”. It can be—because LDL cholesterol is more susceptible to oxidization. But what causes oxidization? Carbohydrates. It is no accident therefore that the Western diet is a killer: heart disease, diabetes and cancer to name a few.
The Western diet typically combines high amounts of carbohydrates with high amounts of animal products (red meat most commonly) with sugar laden ‘treats’. This is a recipe for heart disease and many other diseases. In 2010, an extensive analysis and research study was conducted (21 studies and almost 350,000 subjects). The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the conclusion was that there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease. Countless studies before and since then have also proven this. That’s right. Eat your heart out! (Sort of…)
To make it simple, fats can be divided into three groups. They are Trans Fats, Saturated Fats and Unsaturated Fats.
Trans Fats – The Ugly
Trans fats are created when hydrogen is used to heat vegetable oils under pressure. Trans Fats are found in:
- Processed and packaged food like crackers, potato chips, cookies and microwave popcorn.
- Fried foods (french fries)
- Baked Products (cakes, pastries, cookies)
- Spreads (margarine, icing)
Trans Fat increases your LDL (bad) cholesterol thereby clogging arteries, can cause Type 2 diabetes and even cancer. I wish I could list one benefit about them to make you feel better but I can’t. There is absolutely nothing healthy or natural about trans fats.