It’s safe to say you have heard by now that what the “experts” have been telling us for years about fat, cholesterol and heart health is wrong. At least I hope you have. We have been told for years that saturated fat raises cholesterol and causes heart disease by clogging our arteries.
Well if you look at what the American Heart Association’s recommendation is – less than 7% of our total calories coming from saturated fat – and compare that with a country that is doing just that – Lithuania – it will astound you! Lithuania is doing almost perfectly what the AHA recommend and keeping saturated fat consumption to 7.7% of total calories. Good, right? Not so much! They have one of the highest heart disease mortality rates in the world.
Compare that with countries that eat more than double that amount of saturated fat such as France (15.5%) and Iceland (14.6%) – both of which have MUCH lower rates of heart disease mortality.
Cholesterol has been studied for years and the conclusion is that there is no correlation between high cholesterol and heart disease. God created our bodies to make cholesterol so that even if we don’t get it in our diet, we will produce it because it is a critical element for health – especially brain health. The way cholesterol works in our body is really beautiful. When there is inflammation, in an artery for example, your body sends cholesterol as a kind of bandage to smooth over the inflamed, rough area. When that happens too often, and your body has to send out more and more cholesterol it thickens that area and in an artery will eventually block it. The inflammation is the problem, not the cholesterol!
What has been found to cause inflammation is NOT saturated fats, but excess sugar consumption! A recent 15-year study of 31,000 Americans, found that those who consumed 25% or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who got less than 10% of their calories from sugar.
What does that have to do with my dad? He had severe aortic stenosis and we discovered, 3 blocked arteries. He had a definite sweet tooth all his life. I can’t ever remember him having a meal when I was growing up where he didn’t also have dessert! Often that was something homemade by my mom or grandmother. In his older years he ate sweets usually with breakfast (a donut stick after his eggs and toast) and dinner (Honey Buns or Klondikes) pretty much every day. Those are processed, packaged sweets and besides sugar there are things (chemicals, artificial additives and GMOs) we aren’t even aware of.
What is incredible is that while he obviously had inflammation which caused the blocked arteries, his cholesterol was amazingly good. His total cholesterol was under 200 but what was really impressive was that his HDL (so-called “good” cholesterol) was 100! That’s amazing.
He owned a steak house restaurant for many years and ate steak, butter and eggs regularly. This highlights to me that cholesterol itself and saturated fat has nothing to do with heart disease and that we have more control in this area than we realize. We just have to get back to basics which is eating high quality, properly raised and grown real food and cutting back on sugar.
Do you believe that sugar and not saturated fats is the culprit behind heart disease?
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