Changing Opinions On Fats

With so much confusion surrounding dietary recommendations, it is very hard to know what to eat and what not to eat at times. One week eggs are bad for you, the next week they are good for you. It’s no wonder so many people are suffering from nutritional based diseases or obesity these days.

I even saw a message recently on Facebook where a person asked the Heart Foundation in Australia about their recommendations for egg and alcohol intake. Their answer was to limit eggs to about 5 a week and alcoholic drinks to 2 per day. The conversation that followed was slightly amusing as many people were questioning the fact that they say you can have more alcohol than you can have eggs. Just for the record, I eat up to 30 eggs per week and no doctor can fault my health.

But this post isn’t about alcohol, it’s not about eggs, it’s about a recent study I read on the effects that fat has on the rate of CHD, or coronary heart disease which really throws a spanner in the works for the current health recommendations. This is not the only one that has had these findings, but it is the most comprehensive and will hopefully change the way many health professionals look at dietary advice.

Researchers form CambridgeUniversity, OxfordUniversity, Imperial College of London, University of Bristol, ErasmusUniversity medical Centre and Harvard School of Public Health carried out a joint study partly funded by the British Heart Foundation on the effects of fats on heart disease.*

They looked at epidemiological evidence, where studies were reviewed on the evidence between fats and heart disease, and randomized studies where patients treated with various fats were observed in their risk of heart disease over time.

So it took in 47 epidemiological studies and 27 randomized studies (over 650,000 subjects overall) and were brought together into the one study.

The results of the studies are as follows –

No association between heart disease and the following fats

  • Saturated fats
  • Monounsaturated fats
  • Omega 3 fats
  • Omega 6 fats

However trans fatty acids, produced from polyunsaturated oils, showed an increased risk.

They also found no reduction in heart disease risk with supplementation of

  • ALA omega 3 as in flax oil and other plant source omega 3’s
  • Omega 3’s found in fish oil
  • Omega 6’s found in vegetable oils

The final recommendations made suggest Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.

They also said … the pattern of findings from this analysis did not yield clearly supportive evidence for current cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of saturated fats. Nutritional guidelines on fatty acids and cardiovascular guidelines may require reappraisal to reflect the current evidence.

Now reappraisal means that they recommend change, but we will see if it happens. I think it is safe to say that the current guidelines are not decreasing the incidence of heart disease at all. The only way we are reducing the rate of death is by early interventions. I would prefer to see something that reduced the problem in the first place, rather than fixing something that is already broken.

There are so many reasons to include more fats in your diet that it’s not funny. Cholesterol and saturated fat play an important role in functions such as cellular health, brain function, sexual hormone levels, calcium absorption, immune system function and some even have potent anti microbial properties. So do your body a favour and start eating more fats. Just make sure that they are from natural sources, not made in a factory using chemical extraction processes. These are the true baddies of the fat world.

Run Well

Chris O’Driscoll

P.S. If you would like to learn more about fats and their benefits, you can’t go past this article from Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon.

* Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. Deb Sharp
    4 years ago

    Well written. After 12 years of assisting in coronary angioplasty procedures, 90% of patients are bordering on obesity or are already there, tipping into type 2 diabetes. Trigs and sugar are the killers. The good old pancreas has can\’t keep up, and insulin resistance results

  2. Chris O\'Driscoll
    4 years ago

    Thanks for the comments Deb. We are slowly but surely getting the word out there that natural foods don\’t cause heart disease and diabetes. It will be a happy day when I see Doctors telling patients to avoid processed fats, sugars and carbs and increase their saturated and monounsaturated fat intake.

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