Saturated Fat Does Not Cause Heart Disease

saturatedfat-beeftallowSo, I hate research. That is for sure. I hate science to some degree. I didn’t like labs in high school or college, and I take serious issue with the use of science as a way to deny the benefits of faith and religion, or the existence of God. Science and faith definitely can easily coexist (in fact, many renowned scientists as well as current scientists are people of faith), and I think that scientists often exhibit and practice faith more readily than religious folk. That really occupies a wholly different sphere of discussion, and it’s not the point of my article anyway.

In any case, I prefer to act on intuition as opposed to research (though research has a place). I’m going to write an article about it someday soon on Modern Life Survivalist, but I need to work up to that. My intuition since I’ve started a Paleo diet in efforts to heal my digestive, mental, and muscular troubles has been that what I’d been doing with my diet almost my entire life, which was essentially living from carby meal to carby meal with low to moderate amounts of meat and very little fat (not counting the heavy doses of manufactured oils like soybean, vegetable, and canola that I got from eating French fries and eating out). To me, when I started reading Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet, it only made sense that there was something wrong with that balance. I started reading info from Dave, Dr. Mercola, Chris Kresser, Mark Sisson, and countless other gurus that indicated I should be getting more like 60% of my calories from fat. And you know what, I didn’t question it. My intuition told me to try it, because I haven’t had good results doing otherwise.

I’d been doing low-fat stuff for years. Actually, to be honest, I did have a phase in the last few years, before I became very sick with mold illness and severe digestive distress, where I was telling my wife that fat is the only thing that makes you full and you should eat it. This assertion was totally based on intuition and had very little to do with conventional wisdom or research I’d read. I was on the right track, but I had no idea about fat quality. The reality is that there are many different types of fat, which I barely had any concept of. There’s trans, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated. There was an inkling, though, probably from the government’s pervasive influence, that told me that saturated fat was bad for me, so I didn’t eat butter with my meals that I recall. I think I just added a very tiny bit of table salt to my bagged frozen mixed vegetables that I would have once a day. I’m not really sure if I would add fat. Coconut oil used to be completely foreign to me, too, and I rarely had olive oil.

So getting to the point, now I’m on 60-70% of my calories from fat a day, which includes about a half to three quarters of a stick of Kerrygold butter a day. This has amused most of my friends, as eating four tablespoons of butter straight from the stick in one sitting does happen to be a great party trick. While some are amused, some have instead expressed concern. While engaging in said party trick at a get-together last night while having some grass-fed steaks from Clark’s farm, organic asparagus, and organic sweet potatoes, the discussion arose about saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. Actually, it originally arose while discussing whether to use tallow to cook the steaks. That would have been the main event, but we didn’t know we had to render it. In any case, my friend expressed his reluctance to use something that is “essentially pure saturated fat, and,” he continued, “while you may not think of it as a risk factor, I have a history of heart disease in my family, so I would rather not partake.”

*Jet starts to crash and red lights begin flashing*

Now this guy is generally extremely scientific and knowledgeable. People in my life group incorporate his name into Wikipedia as a nickname. On top of his apparent belief that saturated fat is bad for you, he also believes the idea that eating no grains to replicate a caveman’s diet is misguided. He said, “Fossils of cavemen have teeth that show that they ate grains!” He also basically said the idea that eating like a caveman makes you live longer is ridiculous because cavemen had an average lifespan of 30. Now, I don’t know well enough about all the correct responses to these issues, so I kind of tanked on the Paleo defense (sorry guys).

However, the saturated fat thing I was confident enough about that I knew if I googled it I would easily find an article that satisfactorily explained that saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease. Sure enough, I found an article on Chris Kresser’s site that cited a metastudy from 2009 that determined no correlation. He wasn’t willing to read the whole thing, but he did look at the study and start to attempt to pick it apart. He didn’t get very far, though, because it’s a very convincing study.

The debate continued into the night, as I wasn’t going to relent in my refutation of what I think is an incredibly egregious misconception that is essentially killing people slowly and painfully. I think I made some headway. We talked about some people with gluten sensitivities and how they’d gotten instantly better after eliminating gluten. I don’t think my wife and I convinced him that gluten was bad for everyone, but soon enough, undeniable research will be there telling everyone that this is without a doubt the case. I’ve no doubt of this. We all parted ways amicably, and I asked if he wanted me to send him the research I’d read about saturated fat, including the Chris Kresser article he’d skimmed earlier, and he agreed to allow it.

So today, I sent him three e-mails. I’m not sure if I’m done yet.

Here was the first e-mail:

Subject: Saturated Fat Article from Last Night
Good news for butter/lard/tallow lovers!
I am also going to dig up the few pubmed entries that convinced me I was safe eating saturated fat, on top of the countless testimonials of improved risk factors for CVD vis-à-vis cholesterol numbers and such I’ve heard after people have embarked on high saturated fat diets.
The next e-mail was:
Hey bro,
This article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition lays it out for you from the standpoint of two scientists who’ve probably been surrounded by this research their whole lives. The first sentence of the article states: “It is an article of faith that saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol and accelerates coronary artery disease, whereas unsaturated fatty acids have the opposite effect (1, 2).”
Pretty insane stuff. I was pretty surprised to find out that scientists had been telling me butter was bad for me “on faith,” too. There is article after article and study after study corroborating this. The only question is how long this “article of faith” will be perpetuated even after the correlation has been well-debunked.
I actually wasn’t too happy about that article, because it seemed to be more aimed at figuring out the “paradox” instead of actually just looking at the possibility that the conclusion of the original study, where saturated fat was found to be correlated with heart disease, was indeed flawed.
So, I followed it up with a more recent article in the next e-mail:

I read more of that last article, and it seemed to leave things up in the air conclusion-wise. That’s okay. Scientists seem to be getting more bold in the newer articles. This one is much more recent. There seems to have been a huge amount of hype and sea change in October 2013 on the subject.

This one pretty much spells out the points that I’ve learned.
This is all that you can read for free, but it’s all I need as a refresher and to make my points:

Scientists universally accept that trans fats—found in many fast foods, bakery products, and margarines—increase the risk of cardiovascular disease through inflammatory processes.1 But “saturated fat” is another story. The mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades.

Yet scientific evidence shows that this advice has, paradoxically, increased our cardiovascular risks. Furthermore, the government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol, which has led to the overmedication of millions of people with statins, has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia.

Saturated fat has been demonized ever since Ancel Keys’s landmark “Seven Countries” study in 1970.2 This concluded that a correlation existed between the incidence of coronary heart disease and total cholesterol concentrations, which then correlated with the proportion of energy provided by saturated fat. But correlation is not causation. Nevertheless, we were advised to cut fat intake to 30% of total energy and saturated fat to 10%.”3 The aspect of dietary saturated fat that is believed to have the greatest influence on cardiovascular risk is elevated concentrations of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Yet the reduction in LDL cholesterol from reducing saturated fat intake seems to be specific to large, buoyant (type A) LDL particles, when in fact it is the small, dense (type B) particles (responsive…”

I assume that it goes on to say these small dense (type B) particles are the ones associated with heart disease, because that’s what I’ve read/heard, and that’s why I don’t worry about elevated LDL, just elevated VLDL and/or sd-LDL (not exactly sure if they’re the same thing). So for all we know, the type A buoyant particles are good for us. Yes, even this “article of faith” is something we’ve all just been fed, that high LDL equates to bad things, but that has never been established. The reality is that a better indicator of risk factors is LDL/HDL ratio as well as LDL/triglycerides ratio. Let me tell you, my ratios are insanely good since I’ve gone HSF (high saturated fat).

So, the main points here (and if you want to read the rest of the article, you will have to sign up for the 14-day trial), that sum up what I’ve learned since I started looking into the research that saturated fat causes heart disease and bad cholesterol numbers, are that:

  1. Trans fat is actually the problem and has definitely been established as having an association with CVD
  2. Saturated fat has been touted as equally a problem for 40 years, but in reality there have never been conclusive studies, including the dubious “Seven Countries” Ancel Keys study.
  3. Because of this advice, our cardiovascular risks have increased (second paragraph), like I was saying last night. So, saturated fat might actually be (and from evidence of countless testimonials of improved cholesterol and general health probably actually is) good for you!
  4. The government has been “obsessed” with total cholesterol, and (my little aside) that’s probably why we’ve gotten the message that saturated fat is bad for us. This, to me, also smacks of conspiracy to keep the American people chronically ill, because high saturated fat diets clearly contribute to keeping you healthy.

So the answer is, double your fat intake, eliminate your trans-fat (vegetable oil, soybean oil, and canola oil) intake completely (do this if nothing else if you’re worried about heart disease), and probably triple your saturated fat intake and see the results pour in! And do it without fear. They’ve never really sufficiently proven the connection.”

[end of e-mail]

And I recommend you all do the same! Don’t buy into this dogma that’s been perpetrated on the American people. Think for yourself, use intuition realizing what you’ve been doing doesn’t work and you need to try something new, observe and listen to the thousands of success stories of people going low carb and high fat, look at the real and more representative research that says otherwise, and eat some friggin’ butter!

 

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5 Comments

  1. saturated fat, animal fats, are indeed healthy and do not cause problems, unless the fat is old, gone bad. I eat only from the animal kingdom and was once vegan for a long time. To anyone reading this, trust me (from personal experience), this information is accurate.

    Like

    1. Thank you! You’re comment is like a warm bowl of butter that I might dip a homemade Bulletproof chocolate pancake in. Glad you saw the light and joined the fat side!

      Like

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