For the longest time, we have heard saturated fat is bad for you and it can clogged up your artery which leads to heart attack. Well, the science is in (for one more time) and apparently this is not the case. A study was released August 29, 2017 in one of the most prestige cardiology journal. It examined the dietary habits of 135,000 people and came to the resounding conclusion that “high fat intake – including saturated fat – was associated with a REDUCED risk of mortality.” Furthermore, this study found that a high carbohydrate (didn’t distinguished refined or not) diet increased the risk of mortality (1). Shocking? perhaps not. Look into human anatomy and chemistry than you will know how important these fats are. Human bodies need fat for many different reasons, such as to create hormones, maintain healthy cell membranes, and have excellent neurological function. In addition, approximately 60% of brain is composed of fat (2). Why would it make sense to cut down good quality fat intake and replace with carbohydrates? Besides the benefit of the intake fat, here are three other take away from this articles.
- Three or four daily portions of fruit and vegetables appear to have similar benefits as the current recommendation of five. Meaning, it’s unnecessary to over-stress about getting exactly five servings of fruits and veggies each day. In this study three to four servings worked out to be 375-500 grams. Just for reference, 100 grams of fruits and veggies is about the equivalent of two cupped hands of raw, diced fruit or veggies. This means you should try and get at least 8 cupped handfuls of fruits and vegetables per day.
- The benefits of the fruits, vegetables, and legumes is greater if they are consumed raw. The science behind the idea that raw is better is fairly complicated. But what’s most important is that you’re eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, so if cooking them means you’ll eat more, then by all means, cook ‘em
- Replacing saturated-fatty-acid intake with carbohydrates had an adverse effect on blood lipids. This study examined the impact of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins on total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and apolipoprotein A1 (apoA1) and B (apoB).
Dr. Wu DC’s comment:
Part of the reason I am posting this blog was because American Heart Association (AHA) released an article lashing out on saturated fat not long ago (3). That publication, of course, back-fired them as physicians around the world were questioning the motivation behind it. I am still baffled why they would recommended replace good saturated fat (coconut oil) to monounsaturated fat (canola oil) while science clearly stated otherwise.
The other point I would like to point out is the total cholesterol level. We have been told higher cholesterol could potentially lead to heart attack that’s why doctors put almost every body on statin (cholesterol lowering drug). In fact, statin drugs are one of the most profitable drugs which has made over 22 billions per year. This, in some degree is true but that’s not everything. While it is important to make sure one’s cholesterol level in check, not everyone should have the same cholesterol level. A man weights 200 lbs should have different cholesterol level compare to 100 lbs woman, that makes sense right? Using one standard method to measure cholesterol level is wrong to start with; and further to put everyone on statin because they are out of the range is even worse. Cholesterol is extremely important in our body for proper nerve functioning, hormone production and wound healing. It is imperative not to undercut them. I would highly recommend to consult with your physician or qualified functional medicine practitioner to go over this issue, and oh yeah, go ahead take that spoonful of coconut oil.
One last thing about this article; while consuming vegetables, it is worth the effort to go out and get organic produces. The nutrients in there are much higher with less pesticides compared to conventionally grown.
Yours in health,
Dr. Wu DC
- Dehghan M, Mente A, Zhang X, et al., Fat and Carbohydrate Intake and CV Mortality. American College of Cardiology. Aug 29th 2017.
- Chang Cy, Ke DS, Chen JY., Acta Neural Taiwan. 2009 Dec;18(4):231-41.
- Sources: www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/1266.cfm (Thanks to Functional Medicine University for the majority of sources).