We have all been told that saturated fats found in red meat, eggs, coconut oil are “bad”. We have heard things like, “Saturated fat will kill you!!”, “Stay away from red meat”, “Don’t have too many egg yolks!”, “Watch your cholesterol!”. The newest studies show that there is NO link between saturated fat and heart disease. According to a study released on March 18th, by the Annals of Internal Medicine, saturated fat intake is not linked to heart disease as previously thought. In addition, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study on saturated fat in 2010 , also concluded that there is “no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD(coronary heart disease) or CVD(Cardiovascular disease).” While saturated fat does raise your cholesterol including your LDL, the so called bad cholesterol, it also raises your HDL, otherwise known as your good cholesterol. Thus the ratio of HDL to LDL doesn’t change and neither does your risk to a heart attack.
Did you know our brain’s food is none other than the so called “bad” cholesterol, LDL? That’s right, our brain eats cholesterol as food and having low cholesterol has been shown to increase your chances of Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. David Perlmutter, MD in his book Grain Brain explains this well. LDL is actually a protein molecule that carries cholesterol to the brain and keeps us functioning. It literally feeds our brains! Who new that that delicious piece of bacon is keeping you attentive!
Most of you may not know that there are different types of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol): A very fat and buoyant molecule and a small dense LDL molecule. The fat buoyant LDL is very healthy and does it’s job keeping us smart. The small, dense LDL has been oxidized by sugar molecules that bind to it, damaging the cell. This oxidized LDL can’t do it’s job and becomes harmful to the body causing atherosclerosis.
Wait…Did you hear me correctly? A SUGAR molecule binds to LDL molecule which oxidizes the molecule and causes plaque build up in the arteries. This causes coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. So, SUGAR, not dietary cholesterol, causes high cholesterol in the body and heart disease! But wait, there is more! Saturated fat increases the buoyant LDL molecules which David Perlmutter says is healthy for our brains!
The lesson learned is don’t be afraid of your free-range egg yolks, pasture raised beef, butter from pasture raised cows, coconut oil, or avocados. They keep us smart! Your carbohydrates from sugars, processed foods, even whole grains will be more of a cause for a heart attack than your delicious, brain-healthy, saturated fats.
Go eat a pasture raised ribeye…but don’t forget to sear it in a bit of grass-fed butter!
Keep an eye out for my next blog and see why choosing “free-range” products are important!
Blog post written by Devon Dionne