saturated fat -vs- trans fat:  which one causes chronic illness and death?

HEART DISEASE AND DIETARY FAT
WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?

Paleo Diet Heart Disease

Bryan Brandenburg

“The average American consumes approximately 60 percent of their calories from sugar, flour, and refined oils.  I’ve labeled these folks ‘dietary crackheads’ because these calories are so addictive….  What about those who consume 60% of their calories from dietary crack?  The answer is obvious: most gain weight and develop the metabolic syndrome.”  Functional Neurologist, DAVID SEAMAN from his latest article in DC (A War You Can Help Patients Win).

“Saturated fats are not associated with all cause mortality, Cardiovascular Disease, Coronary Heart Disease, ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes….. Trans fats are associated with all cause mortality, total Cardiovascular Disease, and Coronary Heart Disease mortality….   Dietary guidelines must carefully consider the health effects of recommendations for alternative macronutrients to replace trans fats and saturated fats.”  Cherry-picked from the abstract of the BMJ study we are discussing today.

Old habits and beliefs die hard.  Ever since Dr. Ancel Keys’ famous (or infamous as the case may be) ‘Seven Countries‘ study took place back in the early 1950’s (it was published in 1970) there has been a war raging against SATURATED FATS (mostly animal fats — fats that are hard at room temperature).  And despite the fact that over a year ago, Time Magazine told us that THIS WAR WAS FINALLY OVER, numerous governmental and professional organizations failed to get the memo.  They are keeping the war going via official recommendations, standards of care, and dietary guidelines meant to limit the consumption of fats in general, but most specifically, Saturated Fats.  These entities include heavy hitters such as……..

  • The World Health Organization — The health-related arm of the United Nations.
  • The American Dietetic Association — The professional organization of our nation’s 72,000 registered dietitians.
  • The Dietitians of Canada — Same basic group as above, only in Canada.
  • The British Dietetic Association — Same basic group as above, only in Britain.
  • The American Heart Association — Although technically a non-profit, they are heavily supported by industry ties (HERE is an example of guidelines they recently rewrote).
  • The British Heart Foundation —-  Similar organization in Great Britain.
  • The World Heart Federation —- this organization, located in Switzerland, is said to be, “the world’s only global body dedicated to leading the fight against heart disease and stroke via a united community of almost 200 member organizations that bring together the strength of medical societies and heart foundations, from more than 100 countries…..
  • The British National Health Service —– This is the single-payer system of government-run healthcare found in England; the model for our own Affordable Care Act (Obama Care).
  • The United States Food and Drug Administration —- Another governmental organizations with HEAVY TIES to the food and drug industries, which are often one and the same.
  • The European Food Safety Authority —–  Located in Italy, it’s probably most similar to the WHF above.

A study from the brand new issue of the British Medical Journal (Intake of Saturated and Trans Unsaturated Fatty Acids and Risk of All Cause Mortality, Cardiovascular Disease, and Type 2 Diabetes: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies) helps shine some more light on this topic.  This study was actually a review of numerous earlier studies on the same topic, and was done by Dr. Russell de Souza, of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Ontario’s McMaster University.  Some of the takeaways from this study include…

  • SMART PEOPLE ARE CHANGING THEIR MINDS CONCERNING SATURATED FATS:  Although we have been browbeat with the dangers of Saturated Fat for decades, there is a massive paradigm shift taking place in the thinking of a significant portion of the academic community.  “Recent high profile opinion pieces, informed by systematic reviews of randomized trials and prospective cohort studies, have called for a re-evaluation of dietary guidelines for intake and a re-appraisal of the effects of saturated fat on health.”  HERE and HERE are two examples of this phenomenon that I have written about previously (both are actually included in this study).

  • THE FACT THAT TRANS FATS ARE BAD IS OLD NEWS:  We have been hearing for years — in some instances for decades — that the culprit in all of these nasty health problems, including INFLAMMATION, is not Saturated Fat, but man-made Trans Fats and JUNK CARBS. “Public health efforts to remove trans fats from the food supply in several countries have intensified.”  While it is fantastic that Trans Fats are in the process of being banned (HERE), it’s frankly disturbing that it has taken so long.  Just another proof of the influence the food industry holds over the organizations listed earlier.

  • SATURATED FATS MAKE UP APPROXIMATELY 10% OF THE AVERAGE AMERICAN’S DIET:  “Saturated fats contribute about 10% of energy to the North American diet.  The main sources of saturated fatty acids in the food supply are animal products, such as butter, cows’ milk, meat, salmon, and egg yolks, and some plant products such as chocolate and cocoa butter, coconut, and palm kernel oils.

  • TRANS FATS ARE LARGELY AN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT:  “Trans fats are produced industrially through partial hydrogenation of liquid plant oils in the presence of a metal catalyst [usually nickel], vacuum, and high heat.”  To learn more about TRANS FATS are related to almost every health problem you could name (and many you can’t), just follow the link. Oh; it would not hurt to be aware that the starting product for most Trans Fats is terribly unhealthy SOYBEAN OIL.  By the way, heat is a good reason not cook with Olive Oil.  Use Olive Oil for your dressings, and cook with Coconut Oil or Saturated Fats (lard) — not to be confused with Crisco / shortening, which is pure Trans Fat.

  • ONLY THE ARTIFICIAL TRANS FATS ARE BAD:  Once you understand GUT HEALTH and the importance of “good bacteria” in the body’s various digestive processes, it will make sense that “good” Trans Fats, “can occur naturally in meat and dairy products, where ruminant animals biohydrogenate unsaturated fatty acids via bacterial enzymes.”  In other words, saying that all Trans Fats are bad would be like saying all bacteria are bad (something OUR NATION HAS BEEN DOING for at least the past five decades).

  • DIETARY GUIDELINES:  “Dietary guidelines recommend that saturated fats should be limited to  less than 10% (5-6% for those who would benefit from lowering of LDL cholesterol), and trans fats to less than 1% of caloric intake or as low as possible, primarily to reduce risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke.”   Just like MEDICAL GUIDELINES (or HERE), Dietary Guidelines have proven to be veritable quicksand for the organizations who create them.  There’s the erroneous recommendations to restrict SALT.  Then there’s the whole don’t-eat-eggs-because-they-cause-high-cholesterol thing — even though that was disproved years ago (HERE).  And who could forget the FOOD PYRAMID, as well as the latest government recommendations for a great overall diet — DASH. Or that taking CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS is good for us.  Or even VEGANISM.

  • HOW BAD ARE TRANS FATS IN RELATIONSHIP TO SATURATED FATS?:  Even though you will often see these two kinds of fats lumped together in the scientific literature and discussed as though there are synonymous, this could not be further from the truth.  “In this synthesis of observational evidence we found no clear association between higher intake of saturated fats and all cause mortality, CHD, CHD mortality, ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes among apparently healthy adults. Consumption of trans unsaturated fatty acids, however, was associated with a 34% increase in all cause mortality, a 28% increased risk of CHD mortality, and a 21% increase in the risk of CHD. Further, these data suggest that industrial trans fats confer a 30% increase in the risk of CHD events and an 18% increase in the risk of CHD mortality.

  • SATURATED FATS ARE NOT ASSOCIATED WITH CANCER:  “Studies of saturated fats and other major causes of death, such as colon and breast cancer, also generally fail to find significant associations.”  What, however, do we know beyond the shadow of a doubt is associated with Cancer?  To find out, CLICK THIS LINK

  • MORE:   Remember ANCEL KEYS?  The authors go on to tell us that, “We found no association between saturated fat intake and all cause mortality, Keys’ ‘Seven Countries’ Study notwithstanding“.  In other words, if Keys’ had not FAILED TO INCLUDE the numerous parts of his research that did not fit his hypothesis, a four decade long dietary nightmare could have been avoided (not to mention the fact that his study might have been called “The Twenty Seven Countries Study“).  I could go on, but you get the point. 
Here’s the thing about this study.  It’s not like any of this is new information.  Certainly, Saturated Fat is not what I would refer to as a “Super Food”.  But then again, it’s increasingly clear that neither is it the dietary “Great Satan” it has been made out to be.  Don’t believe me?  Let me show you a few of the numerous studies that came to the same conclusion as the one we just reviewed.

  • In October of 1963, Dr. Alfred Pennington published a study (A New Concept in the Treatment of Obesity) in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).  His solution to the OBESITY EPIDEMIC (before it was an epidemic) was to totally remove sugar from the diet, while increasing both fats and proteins.  He also talked about the history of the KETOGENIC DIET.

  • In 1972, Cardiologist Robert Atkins, using Pennington’s work as a guideline, published his first book; Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution.  Although popular immediately in certain circles, his work did not really start to take off until the mid-90’s.  This was my first experience with the “LOW CARB” way of eating, and I have been at it ever since.  Think about it for a moment.  Atkins made himself a professional pariah because his book came out shortly after Keys published his explosive “Seven Countries” study.

  • In 1992, Dr. William Castelli of the the famous Framingham (Massachusetts) Heart Study published an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine.  In it he stated, “In Framingham, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol. The opposite of what Keys would predict…  We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active.”   Interestingly enough, you must remember that Saturated Fat has over twice the number of calories per unit of weight that SUGAR AND SIMPLE CARBS do.   Just another example of how dietary fat is relatively inert as far as your ENDOCRINE SYSTEM is concerned.  It’s the junk carbs that start the dominoes falling by jacking with your BLOOD SUGAR & INSULIN LEVELS.

  • In 1997, the husband and wife team of MD’s (Michael and Mary Dan Eades) published the book Protein Power.  This book went a long way toward filling in some of the scientific gaps created by Atkins. 

  • In June of 2006, the medical journal, Nutrition and Metabolism, published a study called Low Carbohydrate Diets Improve Atherogenic Dyslipidemia even in the Absence of Weight Loss.  “Because of its effect on insulin, carbohydrate restriction is one of the obvious dietary choices for weight reduction and diabetes. Such interventions generally lead to higher levels of dietary fat than official recommendations and have long been criticized because of potential effects on cardiovascular risk although many literature reports have shown that they are actually protective even in the absence of weight loss. A recent report of Krauss et al. (AJCN, 2006) separates the effects of weight loss and carbohydrate restriction. They clearly confirm that carbohydrate restriction leads to an improvement in atherogenic lipid states in the absence of weight loss or in the presence of higher saturated fat.”  All of this is easy to understand once you realize the consequences of LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE.

  • The January 2010 issue of the American Journal of Nutrition (Saturated Fat, Carbohydrate, and Cardiovascular Disease) analyzed 21 studies containing nearly 350,000 people.  In the end they stated that, “A focus of dietary recommendations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and treatment has been a reduction in saturated fat intake, primarily as a means of lowering LDL-cholesterol concentrations. However, the evidence that supports a reduction in saturated fat intake must be evaluated in the context of replacement by other macronutrients.”  This is true even though, “An independent association of saturated fat intake with CVD risk has not been consistently shown in prospective epidemiologic studies.  Replacement [of dietary Saturated Fat] with a higher carbohydrate intake, particularly refined carbohydrate, can exacerbate the atherogenic dyslipidemia [hardening of the arteries caused not by High Cholesterol, but by poor ratios of the various kinds of Cholesterol to each other] associated with insulin resistance [PRE-DIABETES] and obesity that includes increased triglycerides, small LDL particles, and reduced HDL cholesterol.

  • In 2013 the British Medical Journal published a piece by Dr. Aseem Malhotra, an interventional cardiology specialist at Croydon University Hospital in London, England.  In this scathing piece, Dr. Malhorta said, “Saturated fat has been demonized ever since Ancel Keys’s landmark “seven countries” study in 1970. This concluded that a correlation existed between the incidence of coronary heart disease and total cholesterol concentrations, which then correlated with the proportion of energy provided by saturated fat. But correlation is not causation.  The mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades.  Yet scientific evidence shows that this advice has, paradoxically, increased our cardiovascular risks. Furthermore, the government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol, which has led to the over-medication of millions of people with statins, has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia.”  The culprit in the good doctor’s paper?   The MASSIVELY INFLAMMATORY NATURE OF SUGAR!  And in case you are one of those folks who still think STATIN DRUGS are wonderful, you might want to clear your calendar, click the link, and start reading.

  • The March 2014 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine carried a study called Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.  The conclusions of this huge study (they reviewed over 70 other studies consisting of 600,000 people) were simple.  “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”  Lead author, Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury of England’s Cambridge University had this to say in a March 17 interview with the New York Times, the day before the study was released to the public.  “My take on this would be that it’s not saturated fat that we should worry about.

So, why do some scientific studies link things like Saturated Fats and Cancer, Saturated Fats and Heart Disease, Saturated Fats and HIGH CHOLESTEROL, or Saturated Fats and demon possession?  It is my belief that it’s largely because most commercially raised meats are FATTENED ON ANTIBIOTICS and then dosed with large amounts of antibiotics because they are constantly sick.  We know that ANTIBIOTICS are being linked to almost every health problem (not to mention Obesity) that you can name, namely because they destroy your MICROBIOME

Bottom line; the best way for scientists to get to the bottom of this issue, is to do studies with whole foods.  In other words, there can be no antibiotics or HORMONES in the meat products, and no pasteurization and homogenization in MILK PRODUCTS.  Studying meat or dairy where this has not been done fails to tell us anything meaningful about the products (meat / dairy) themselves.  It simply tells us that lots of chemicals, drugs, and processing is bad for our health —- something most of us are already well aware of. 

But face it; it’s all about the money.  Much of the food industry are made up of the very same corporations that make up “BIG PHARMA“.  They peddle their influence to governments and health organizations (HERE), in an effort to keep you HOOKED ON THEIR PRODUCTS.  Who has made out like a bandit on this 45 year mistake?  How about Big Pharma?  The amount of money being made off your poor health and Obesity is almost unfathomable.  What about ‘BIG CORN‘?  Come on folks; who do you think is sweetening all these products?  And even though there are any number of other reasons, let’s not forget our nation’s system of universities, which contain the medical institutions that are being built by Corporate America (the PFIZER RESEARCH CENTER or GLAXO-SMITHKLINE medical building).

If you are looking for a way to get off the Medical Merry-go-Round — an EXIT STRATEGY if you will — take some time to read about the myth of EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE, as well as a generalized blueprint for getting your health back (HERE).

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