by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News
The saturated fat lie is officially exposed now that the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a division of the BMJ (British Medical Journal), emphatically declared:
Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions. (Emphasis added)
Of course, the lie may persist for some time. Health Impact News readers and a relative handful of knowledgeable consumers already know this.
Even so, most mainstream and even holistic doctors, nutritionists, and most health writers, orthodox and alternative, still maintain the prevailing false dogma of saturated fat as the villain creating poor heart health. More on that here.
The beginning of this very recent BMJ letter, 31 March 2017, reviewing several mega-studies, states early in their editorial:
Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong.
Wrong, unequivocally and indisputably, not maybe or could be or further studies needed, but completely wrong. It’s over. And the root cause of arterial inflammation is cited with dietary recommendations that lean toward the Mediterranean Diet.
Reviewing the BMJ Review
It’s important to understand that the BMJ is one of the world’s most prestigious journals. Hopefully, some cardiologists, physicians, and nutritionists will get around to reading this recent saturated fat article. If so, maybe prescribing harmful statin drugs will go out of fashion.
Mainstream “science journalists” may even stop debunking and stop defaming veteran heart surgeon Dwight Lundell and a handful of other cardiologists who have publicly stated similar myth-busting statements of arterial inflammation, not cholesterol from saturated fats, as the cause of heart disease.
The popular avoidance of saturated fats began around 50 years ago. Yet all the diseases attributed to saturated fats, such as obesity, diabetes type 2, and coronary heart disease (CHD) have increased despite all those no-fat or low-fat foods promoted and consumed on a large scale. Heart disease is still the number one disease killer.
The BMJ editorial cites the fact that:
… an angiographic study of postmenopausal women with CHD, [demonstrated] greater intake of saturated fat was associated with less progression of atherosclerosis whereas carbohydrate and polyunsaturated fat intake were associated with greater progression.
The unhealthy polyunsaturated fats mentioned are those conjured up by our processed food industries to satisfy the demand for avoiding saturated fats. They include heat processed partially hydrogenated cooking and salad vegetable oils and hydrogenated margarine.
They all come with packages of trans-fatty acids that do cause cellular damage and tissue inflammation. Even the FDA in recent years has required trans-fatty acid content to be listed on ingredient labels (years after most European nations required the same, or downright banned trans fats.)
The BMJ editorial letter also mentioned refined carbohydrates as a source of arterial inflammation. This is the stuff of most cheap commercially produced pastries, bread, and other low-fat foods. It also mentioned the disparity of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids creates arterial and other inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in nuts, fish, fish oils, land-based animal meats and some eggs. Those animal sources of omega-3 should be from relatively clean water wild fish and from the highest quality free grazing grass fed animals to avoid the toxins of farmed fish and factory farm livestock.
Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, oils and fats naturally occurring in high fat foods such as avocado, flax seeds,and organic nuts are heart-healthy omega-6 oils because they are not heat processed to produce trans-fatty acids. Instead, their alpha linoleic acid content nourishes the heart and its vascular system. Coconut oil is so healthy it’s medicinal. (Source)
What is considered ideal is anywhere from a 1:1 to 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 oil consumption. The Standard American Diet (SAD) omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio is as high as 20:1 or even higher because, most processed foods, including those low-fat items, are high in cheap processed trans-fatty vegetable oils that are omega-6.
Another item mentioned in this BMJ editorial letter as unhealthy for heart health is fructose. But that strikes this writer as slightly misleading. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or corn syrup is a dangerously concentrated cheaper-than-sugar sweetener used in sodas and other processed foods, some of which are not even sweet. Read those labels carefully.
Many health experts claim solid whole fruits, consumed in moderation, contain sufficient fiber and other nutrients to offset any claimed hazards of fructose. Though mentioning refined carbohydrates, it failed to include added sugar as a source of arterial inflammation.
The BMJ paper claimed LDL cholesterol dangers are exaggerated. It compared arterial damage from plaque to a pimple popping. A pimple represents the plaque which can be a product of cholesterol attempting to heal a specific area of inner arterial wall inflammation, comparable to a scab on a wound.
All of this led to the BMJ paper’s authors to recommend the Mediterranean Diet and daily brisk walking to prevent coronary disease and diabetes 2, both caused by chronic inflammation.
BMJ Study Without Vested Interests in Statin Drugs
Some health experts out of the saturated fat dogma box even call cholesterol an innocent bystander trying to help curb inflammation. The importance of cholesterol for overall health has been observed by many over the past decade.
They include the first phase of our skin for transforming sunlight into vitamin D3, building cell walls throughout our bodies, and comprising most of our brains’ structure. Reducing cholesterol artificially with statin drugs often leads to early dementia and other serious side effects. More on that here.
Other sources say the plaque could be formed from excessive calcium intake that doesn’t get into bone-matter because other nutrients that help calcium get into bone-matter are missing. Magnesium, silica, and vitamin K2 are vital for keeping calcium out of the blood where it can collect and form plaque in blood vessels. (Source)
None of this is new to Health Impact News‘ extensive coverage of false fat dogma and promotion. But the BMJ paper disclosed a surprising cardiac inflammatory source: unresolved childhood trauma. Their study determined that:
chronic stress increases glucocorticoid receptor resistance, which results in failure to downregulate the inflammatory response.
The BMJ paper concluded:
It is time to shift the public health message in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease away from measuring serum lipids and reducing dietary saturated fat. Coronary artery disease is a chronic inflammatory disease and it can be reduced effectively by walking 22 min a day and eating real food. There is no business model or market to help spread this simple yet powerful intervention. (Source)
In other words, there are no big profits from extensive doctor visits and statin drugs if the message gets out where it should.
Recent empirical evidence has shown that even higher fat diets with unadulterated healthy fats mentioned earlier in this article, such as the ketogenic diet, will be substantially better for general health than a high refined carbohydrate processed food diet, not only for heart health and avoiding diabetes but also ridding obesity. You’ll find plenty of material about the ketogenic diet here.
That’s a complete turnaround from what has been health dogma for a half century.