FAT and Cholesterol
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All The Facts About FAT and Cholesterol
how did fat start to become demonised
The story of nutrition science since the 1920s is that scientists, responding to the dramatic increases in the number of heart disease cases, which had gone from a handful in 1900 to being the leading cause of death by 1950, hypothesised that dietary fat was to blame. This hypothesis became accepted as truth largely due to Ansell Keys, before it was properly tested. Also, the normally self -challenging mechanism of science, where hypotheses, research and results are reproduced and retested, was disabled i.e. wasn’t taken into account.
And so it becomes part of the psyche
WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE 1970
Since the 1970s, we have followed these guidelines, increased our consumption of fruit and vegetables, increased the grains and reduced the amount of fat, which includes switching to vegetable oils and during that time, instead of our health improving, it is getting worse. Rates of obesity, diabetes, strokes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses are increasing.
A growing number of experts are now acknowledging that making the low fat diet the centre of nutritional advice, was a bad idea. And yet we are still advised to eat a diet of mostly fruit, vegetables and whole grains with modest amounts of lean meat and low fat dairy. Red meat is still virtually banned, as are whole fat milk, cheese, cream, butter and eggs.
what happens in a society that eats 70 - 80% fat
In 1906, Stefansson, a Harvard anthropologist, chose to live with and study the Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic. He lived exactly like his hosts, which included almost exclusively eating meat and fish for an entire year. For 6-9 months, they ate nothing but caribou, followed by months of exclusively salmon, and a month of eggs in the spring. 70-80% of the calories in their diet came from fat. The only time they ever ate vegetables was in time of famine.
Stefansson wrote “If meat needs carbohydrates and vegetables to make it wholesome, then the poor Eskimos were not eating healthily. They should have been in a wretched state…But, to the contrary, they seemed to be the healthiest people I have ever lived with”. There was no obesity or heart disease.
Eager to prove his revelations, he returned home and devised an experiment. In 1928 he and a colleague, under hospital supervision, vowed to eat nothing but meat and drink water for an entire year. At the end of the year, both men felt extremely well and were found to be in perfect health. The scientists could find nothing wrong with them, no deficiencies at all.
does fat make you fat?
No, unless it is mixed with carbohydrates / sugar, like in the case of a doughnut. In nature fat and sugar is rarely seen; food scientists know this taste combination is irresistible and hyperpalatable – they specifically look for the bliss point. The word fat means two very different things: the fat we eat and the fat on our bodies. It’s very hard for our brains to grasp that they are entirely different.
Our fear of dietary fat as fattening goes back to 1920s America, where doctors advised their patients to cut back on fat to lose weight because fat packed more calories. Since then, fat in all forms has simply become something to be avoided. A large number of experiments since then have confirmed that restricting fat does not slim people down, quite the reverse actually. The low fat diet has spread far and wide but the evidence for it doesn’t add up and never has.
Saturated fat has NOT been shown to cause the most damaging kind of cholesterol to go up, total cholesterol has not been demonstrated to lead to an increased risk of heart attacks and even narrowing of the arteries has not been shown to predict a heart attack.
world health organisation evidence review 1964
A medical officer for the WHO in Geneva collected every study he could find and concluded that any link between dietary fat and heart disease was, at best, weak and unreliable.
GEORGE MANN 1955 STUDY OF KENYAN MASAI MEAT EATERS
George Mann, a biochemist, had studied the Masai in Africa and found that they were thriving on diets of meat, animal blood and milk, whose total cholesterol was among the lowest in the world and who did not contract heart disease – nor indeed any other diseases! The scientists supporting the diet-heart hypothesis tried to disprove the findings but reluctantly wound up confirming them. There have been studies done since and a very uncomfortable fact for the promoters of the diet-heart hypothesis is that people who eat less fat, particularly saturated fat, do not live longer. Although their cholesterol decreases their risk of death doesn’t.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found only in animal foods. Unlike fatty acids it doesn’t provide energy. However, your body needs it in order to produce steroid hormones (to control inflammation), vitamin D and bile acids that help digest fat. All of your cells make cholesterol; in fact, most of the cholesterol in your blood comes from your body rather than the food you eat. Dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol levels, nor does it increase heart disease risk.
Fat Soluble Vitamin d
A group of secosteroids responsible for increasing absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. The major source of the vitamin is synthesis of cholecalciferol in the skin from cholesterol through a chemical reaction that is dependent on sun exposure.
The biologically active form of vitamin D, Calcitrol, circulates as a hormone in the blood, having a major role regulating the concentration of calcium and phosphate, and promoting the healthy growth and remodelling of bone, effects cell growth, neuromuscular and immune functions and reduction of inflammation.
Fat Soluble Vitamin e
Is a group of 8 fat soluble compounds. Vitamin E deficiency is rare and is usually down to an underlying problem with digesting dietary fats, and can cause nerve problems.
It is thought vitamin E has antioxidant functions in cell membranes and may act by controlling gene expression and cell signal transduction.
did fat cause heart attacks and strokes
Ancel Keys was challenged on his Diet Heart Hypothesis by others who wanted sugar looked at as the potential villain. Mr Keys decided to conduct a study to prove cholesterol was a root cause of strokes and heart attacks. His study was called the 7 countries study; he demonstrated via a graph a correlation between saturated fat and heart disease. This looked compelling. There was a fatal issue however as he had another 15 countries worth of data, he selected not to reveal. Later this omission was rectified by others. The additional data showed a scatter diagram with not a hint of correlation for Ancel’s hypothesis.
So the burning question is why are “we” still wed to the Diet Heart Hypothesis, when no link was proved. A complete food system of low calorie and high carbohydrate methods of eating have swept the world, along with a view that cholesterol should be lowered. At KetoDoit we believe that high insulin, sugar and carbohydrates are the primary drivers of most of the chronic conditions.
big fat surprise (9 years of research)
Nina Teicholz, in her book The Big Fat Surprise, has read and reviewed all the original studies as well as data that was never intended to be found. What she found was, not only that it was a mistake to restrict fat but also that our fear of saturated fat in animal foods – butter, eggs and meat – has NEVER been based in solid science. Her book lays out the scientific case for why our bodies are healthiest on a diet with ample amounts of fat including meat, eggs, butter and other animal foods high in saturated fat.
This book will be an eye opener for you and I strongly advise you to read it. She is completely independent with no affiliations to any particular views and no funding from them either. It is unbiased.
We should all know how and what went wrong with the low fat diet and why eating this way has caused so many health issues.
Why Do We Need Fat?
Even though fat has been scandalised over the years, it is actually essential to your health.
Fat supports several of your body’s functions and gives your body the energy it needs. Fat helps you to absorb important vitamins (vitamin D requires the presence of cholesterol to be processed by the body) and gives your body essential fatty acids that control inflammation, improve brain health and more.
During digestion, fat and cholesterol are packaged into tiny particles called chylomicrons. After the fat has been digested, fatty acids are passed through the lymph system and then throughout the body via your bloodstream to be used or stored for energy, cell repair and growth. Your lymph system also absorbs fatty acids to help fight infection. Adipose tissue takes triglyceride from the chylomicrons. Each chylomicron gets smaller, eventually leaving a remnant that’s rich in cholesterol and taken by the liver.
So fat is important because it:
• Helps you absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
• Regulates inflammation and immunity
• Maintains the health of your cells, including skin and hair
• Adds richness to food, helping you to feel full and satisfied
Pete Ahrens research 1957
Pete Ahrens research suggested that carbs found in cereals, grains, flour and sugar might be contributing directly to, if not causing, obesity and disease. And he correctly predicted that a fat reduced diet would increase consumption of these foods.
While everyone was obsessed at the time with serum cholesterol, Ahrens was interested in triglycerides. His experiments consistently revealed that triglycerides shot up whenever carbs replaced fat in the diet (i.e. cereal instead of egg and bacon for breakfast). Ahrens found that triglycerides would cloud up the blood with a milky white liquid with someone on a high carb diet, whereas a contrasting clear blood plasma belonged to someone on a high fat regime.
High triglycerides are also usually found in diabetics and because diabetics are at a higher risk for heart disease there was a case for a common cause – excessive weight gain. Whatever was causing people to get fat was spiking their triglycerides and also leading to heart disease and diabetes. The probable cause that Albrink and Ahrens identified in the 1960s was carbohydrates. Ahrens was concerned that the low fat diets being prescribed would worsen triglyceride levels and exacerbate the problem of obesity and chronic disease.
This was the 1960s people! Any of it ringing bells in your head, it should be. Why was this ignored!
reiser 1973 review of the diet heart hypothesis - no link
Reiser re-examined the studies at the foundation of the diet-heart hypothesis. Among his observations that undermined this hypothesis were that certain types of saturated fatty acids, such as stearic acid, which is the main one found in meat, demonstrated no cholesterol raising effect at all.
results of studies lowering cholesterol
By 1981, nearly a dozen sizable studies on humans had found a link between lowering cholesterol and increases in cancer rates, principally colon cancer. And there are other problems, people who have successfully lowered their cholesterol levels in trials of diet or drugs turned out to have higher rates of gall stones. Strokes are also a concern. In Japan, for example, a country of interest for heart disease researchers due to the low rates in rural areas, investigators have found that Japanese people with lower cholesterol levels suffer strokes at rates 2 to 3 times higher than those with higher cholesterol.
The idea that eating red meat causes colorectal cancer has also been reviewed and the difference between those who ate the most red meat and those who ate the least was miniscule and far from convincing evidence. Many of the nutrients implicated in protecting against cancer – vitamin A, folic acid, selenium and zinc, are not only more abundant in meat but are also more easily absorbed into the bloodstream when eaten in meat rather than vegetables.
What type of fat should we avoid?
We recommend avoiding processed vegetable and seed oils such as safflower, sunflower, canola, corn and soybean oils. Especially for cooking which makes them even more harmful for the body as they oxidise at high temperatures. Also, stay away from mayonnaise, margarines and spreads containing these oils.
Unlike fats found naturally in foods, vegetable and seed oils are highly refined products that do not provide any nutritional value. They are prone to rancidity when exposed to light or air, and they may become further damaged and create toxic by-products when heated.
Fats such as butter, ghee, coconut oil and lard are the best options for frying since they are resistant to heat and don’t oxidise when reaching high temperatures. Olive oil and avocado oil are not very heat resistant either so they are better used cold in dressings or in home-made mayonnaise or pesto.
Fat Soluble Vitamin a
Is important for growth and development, for the maintenance of the immune system and good vision. Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eye and is important for epithelial and other cells. Epithelial cells line the outer surfaces of organs and blood vessels throughout the body, as well as inner surfaces of cavities in internal organs e.g. epidermis of the skin. All glands are made up of epithelial cells. Functions of epithelial cells include secretion, absorption, protection, transcellular transport and sensing.
Fat Soluble Vitamin k
Is a group of fat soluble vitamins that the body requires for complete synthesis of certain proteins that are essential for blood coagulation (clotting), and which the body also needs for controlling binding of calcium in bones and other tissues.
Clinical research indicates that deficiency of vitamin K may weaken bones and may promote calcification of arteries and other soft tissues.
Require Direct Guidance?
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