“Don’t get hung up on the amount of natural fat you eat, eat more of it and enjoy it. Just stay away from abnormal and processed fats”
This is my parting shot to people who take part in my online courses when we get to “fat week”.
British Medical Journal Article about Saturated Fat and Heart Disease
Dr Malhotra’s article in the BMJ – ‘Saturated Fat is Not the Issue’ highlights an important issue.
Scientists know that abnormal fats (like trans fats) that are found in margarines, fried, fast and processed foods, lead to heart disease. Margarine is losing so far in the margarine vs butter debate.
When we doctors look at your cholesterol result we look at a number of things, here are two of them:
- HDL = ‘good cholesterol’
- LDL = ‘bad cholesterol’
It is widely believed that saturated fat (the fat found in butter, diary products and meat) increases LDL, i.e. ‘bad’ cholesterol. It does indeed increase LDL.
However, what this blood test result doesn’t tell us is that there are more than one type of LDL… Dr Malhotra mentions two of them:
- type A LDL – these levels are linked to saturated fat
- type B LDL – these are linked to carbohydrate and sugar intake
Here’s the interesting thing – it is type B that is linked to heart disease, not Type A…
This means that saturated fat isn’t particularly linked to heart disease but the wrong sort of carbohydrates are. And we already know that abnormal fats, like those found in margarine, are too.
He also mentions a study showing that adopting a Mediterranean style diet after you’ve had a heart attack is 3 times more powerful at saving your life than taking drugs like statins. It is also far better than a ‘low fat’ diet in preventing future heart problems.
The problem with low fat diets is that they are high in carbohydrates – pushing up type B LDL
What To Do
The really good news here is that you can make so much difference to your health by making changes to your diet:
- Above all reduce (or cut out) sugar and refined carbs
- Cut out abnormal ‘chemical plant’ produced fats like margarine, have butter instead
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg
- Use unprocessed, extra virgin oils
- Chill out about saturated fat – but remember a Mediterranean diet doesn’t have loads of this, it’s just part of a healthy diet
- Drink plenty of water
Margarine vs Butter?
When it comes to margarine vs butter it’s butter that you’ll find in my fridge.
Until next week