Thursday, November 4, 2010

Saturated Fats Don't Cause Heart Disease!

(Article first published as Fats Are Good For Heart Health, Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)
New information may fly against the conventional wisdom that has condemned fat for the past half century. As difficult as it may be to believe, eating the right type of fat not only promotes a healthy heart, but can help you to drop those extra pounds. Most people are surprised to find out that a low fat diet prescribed to so many people to promote heart health and cut body fat has been shown to do just the opposite. Fortunately you can make small dietary changes that will help you to lower your risk of a heart attack and burn excess belly fat.

Saturated Fat Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease
We’ve been told to avoid saturated fat because it is the cause of most heart attacks. Alternative health practitioners have known this is false for years. In reality, some saturated fat is essential to health, as it provides the necessary base components required for cellular development. Information published in the journal Lipids explains that it is important to understand the relationship between saturated fats and other foods typically eaten along with the maligned fat.

Because saturated fats are stable at room temperature, they are most commonly used in baked goods, chips and other junk foods that are packed with refined carbs and sugar. The problem is guilt by association. The carbs quickly convert to sugar and lead to heart disease and weight gain. Saturated fat is just along for the ride.

Monounsaturated Fats Lower Incidence of Diabetes
People following a Mediterranean style diet have lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol and reduced risk of a heart attack. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that has been shown to demonstrate powerful antioxidant properties and is known to boost immune system function.

The results of a study published in the journal Diabetes Care followed 418 volunteers for a period of 4 years. Participants were split into two groups, one eating a diet consisting of olive oil and nuts and the other following a standard low fat diet.

The results showed that the group eating a diet high in monounsaturated fats was able to reduce the incidence of diabetes by 52%. Since a diagnosis of diabetes doubles the risk of heart disease, switching away from a low fat diet in favor of monounsaturated fats could just save your life.

Cut Carbs and Boost Fat to Lose Weight
We have become a fat-phobic society as we try to avoid every morsel of processed food that may have any amount of fat. We do this with the misguided notion that the fat in our cookies or ice cream will result in stored fat on our body. In reality, it’s the carbs in those foods that result in fat on our belly.

Our body quickly breaks down calories from carbs into glucose which circulates in the blood to provide energy to our cells. When too much sugar is present, it’s converted to triglycerides that is easily stored as fat. By contrast, dietary fat is slowly broken down and used for energy and cellular repair.

We need to rethink how we view dietary fats. Extensive evidence exists to show that saturated fat by itself is not a cause of heart disease and is actually necessary for optimal health. A diet that excludes refined carbohydrates and includes healthy uncooked monounsaturated fats from olive oil and nuts will promote cardiovascular health and contribute to your natural weight loss goal.

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