Our resident nutritionist Steph Lowe digs deeper into the confusing new information about cholesterol, blood pressure and saturated fat.
The Heart Foundation has come under much scrutiny with their saturated fat guidelines in recent years, as the saturated fat – heart health myth is exactly that, one of the biggest nutrition myths of the last five decades.
What sufferers of high blood pressure and cholesterol have been told
The following is a direct excerpt from The Heart Foundation at www.heartfoundation.org.au
- Have your cholesterol checked regularly, as part of an assessment of your overall risk of heart, stroke and blood vessel disease. The higher your risk, the more often that you should have these checks.
- Saturated fat is the type of fat that clogs our arteries and raises our blood cholesterol levels. A diet high in saturated fat is the main cause of high cholesterol. Simple ways to reduce the amount we eat include switching from butter to margarine, choosing reduced fat dairy, and trimming visible fat from meat.
- Enjoy healthy eating. Choose mainly plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits and legumes (dried peas, dried beans and lentils), and grain-based foods (preferably wholegrain), such as bread, pasta, noodles and rice.
- Consume moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, fish and reduced fat dairy products, and moderate amounts of polyunsaturated or mono-unsaturated fat.
What modern research tells us
In 2010, twenty-one past studies were included in a meta-analysis of 347,747 individuals. The results of this study clearly state there is “no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease”. You can access the research here.
What you need to know
1. Cholesterol is not the problem. We do not need to artificially lower a vital substance that virtually every cell in your body naturally produces and re-quires to sustain optimal function.
2. From a blood lipid panel, high total low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is not the most important factor, but rather it’s the size of the LDL particles that counts.
3. High triglyceride (TG)/high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ratio (TG/HDL-C ratio) indicates small LDL particles and correlates strongly with incidence and extent of heart disease.
4. Low TG/HDL-C ratio indicates minimal small LDL particles and a reduced risk of heart disease.
5. High carbohydrate diets and the presence of insulin are responsible for small LDL particles. Statin drugs do nothing to change LDL particle size.
What about statin drugs?
Statin drugs are drugs that lower our cholesterol. Again, we do not need to artificially lower a vital substance that virtually every cell in your body naturally produces and requires to sustain optimal function.
Statins poison HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme needed to produce cholesterol, adrenal and sex hormones, memory proteins and maintain cell energy. The highest concentration (25%) of cholesterol in the body is found in the brain. When cholesterol production is blocked, the side effects can be disastrous. The potential side effects of statin usage include confusion, paranoia, disorientation, depression, memory loss and dementia.
So if I should include saturated fat in my diet, how?
A great place to start is to swap your artificial and highly processed margarine for grass-fed butter. Additionally, cooking with coconut oil is an healthy transition as it is heat stable and one of the best cooking fats. Olive oil is highly nutritious but as it is an omega-3 fat, it is best for low temperatures and cold use such as in a salad dressing.
For more information, please speak to your local holistic health practitioner or holistic General Practitioner.
Here is an interesting article from Time Magazine published in Feb 2015
Brownstein, D. (2014). “Statin Drugs Cause Brain Dysfunction. Multibillion Dollar Profits for Big Pharma”. Global Research. Available online: http://www.globalresearch.ca/statin-drugs-cause-brain-dysfunction-multibillion-dollar-profits-for-big-pharma/5421483
Sultan, S. Hynes, N. (2013).”The Ugly Side of Statins. Systemic Appraisal of the Contemporary Un-Known Unknowns”. Open Journal of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, 3,3.