You’ve probably been taught your whole life that eating saturated fats was asking for trouble. How dare anyone eat meat, cheese, butter, or egg yolks!
These guidelines were formulated by the American Heart Association (AHA), American College of Cardiology, and even the World Health Organization. All made it clear that fats in general and saturated fats especially, needed to be strictly avoided to prevent heart attacks.
We were told to reduce fats to under 30% of calories per day and keep saturated fats below 10%. After all, these edicts were passed down from two of the most powerful and respected cardiology associations on earth!
What are Trans-fats?
Trans-fats are hydrogen-treated oils that were used to create margarine’s and Crisco’s easy-to-spread texture… as well as lengthen shelf life of crackers, cookies, chips, icing, and hundreds of other pantry staples in the American diet.
When you see the term “hydrogenated” or “partially-hydrogenated” you’re eating trouble.
Because studies suggest trans-fats are more deadly than sugar, so beware…
AHA Declares War on Saturated Fats – Based on a Fake Study
The AHA declared saturated fats as the enemy in 1961, claiming they increased blood cholesterol, which in turn blocked coronary arteries and triggered heart attacks. This declaration was driven by the (false) conclusion of one physiologist… who didn’t bother to submit even a shred of evidence.
This “scientist,” Ancel Benjamin Keys, PhD, indelibly impressed his “diet heart” hypothesis upon Paul Dudley White, a founding member of the AHA.
White had been caring for President Dwight Eisenhower, who’d suffered his first heart attack in 1955.
It wasn’t just the President having heart attacks either. Following decades of rare heart attacks, many middle-aged Americans started dying of heart attacks in the 1950s.
President Eisenhower had famously warned the American public of the “military-industrial complex.” However, as president, he had no clue about the rapidly developing “health-pharmaceutical-industrial complex.”
Keys’ “7-Countries Study” Cherry Picked the Data – Removed 15 Countries
Keys launched his “seven countries study” by showing a clear link between consuming higher amounts of saturated fats, and deaths due to heart disease. His seven countries included the U.S., Japan, Yugoslavia, Netherlands, Italy, Greece and Finland.
Unfortunately for all of us, Keys’ study was deeply flawed. The biggest flaw was that Keys actually cherry-picked those seven countries because they supported his hypothesis. He omitted 15 countries that showed NO link between saturated fat consumption and heart mortality.
He “conveniently” ignored Denmark and Sweden – each of which had relatively few heart attack deaths despite their diets with high saturated fats. By contrast, Chile had high cardiac mortality despite eating few saturated fats and was also excluded.
Keys also checked food samples for fat content in less than 4% of the 12,000 participants in his study. Those he did examine were checked for only a single day among Americans, and less than one week among European participants.
Furthermore, Keys was impressed with the large number of long-lived people on the Greek island of Crete. However, he tested them at a time when they’d been fasting for more than 30 days during a religious festival. The fact that over 60% of the population abstained from meat, butter, and cheese during this time led Keys to incorrect conclusions.
Nevertheless, the AHA was so impressed by Keys’ “diet heart” hypothesis that they embraced it completely and turned it into official policy for the AHA and eventually the FDA.
By 1977, more than 220 million Americans were pushed to embrace a low-fat diet. The Brits followed suit in 1984.
AHA Ignores Numerous Contrarian Studies
Strangely, the AHA ignored at least six randomized studies including 2500 heart patients. All showed no difference in mortality between the low saturated-fat diet and the control group (with regular eating habits). Each group had 370 deaths.
Despite the fact that no women were studied, and lacking even one primary prevention trial, the AHA and the U.S. government created their advisories. God alone knows how many people died because of this.
The Food Industry’s Role
Not to be left out, the food industry was full into this myth. Vegetable oils were manufactured in the millions of tons…. Cheaply.
Procter and Gamble led the way – aggressively marketing cottonseed oil and making a $17-million donation (in today’s dollars) to the AHA.
And the “diet-food-health-industrial complex” hasn’t looked back in the past 60 years.
It’s important to note that these government dietary fat recommendations were untested in any trial prior to being introduced.
Americans unwittingly became participants in the largest uncontrolled experiment in history (up to that point).
The experiment has not ended well. We are in the midst of the biggest obesity crisis in history. Though not studied before it was recommended, the low-fat hypothesis has been thoroughly tested in recent years and found wanting.
Other Relevant Studies
1. The British Medical Journal published a 2015 review of saturated fat and trans-unsaturated fat and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHD), ischemic stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
They concluded that saturated fats are not associated with all-cause mortality, CVD, CHD, ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes.
In contrast, trans-fats are associated with all-cause mortality, CVD, and CHD.
2. Another study – a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials – showed no differences in all-cause mortality between the two groups.
3. In the famous Minnesota Coronary Experiment the intervened group had saturated fats replaced with a polyunsaturated vegetable oil while the control group stuck with their regular American diet.
Trial results were never published until a group of investigators got its hands on all the raw data.
More than 2500 participants consumed their designated diets for one year. Autopsy reports were available for 140 deaths.
They were stunned to learn that the autopsies showed 42% of the people in the polyunsaturated fats group had suffered a heart attack versus only 22% in the control group. Both groups showed similar levels of atherosclerosis in their arteries.
Also, despite a 13% reduction in blood cholesterol with the vegetable oil diet, there was a 30% higher mortality in people older than 65 years.
Interestingly, the lead investigator in the Minnesota Coronary Experiment was (can you guess???) Ancel Keys.
4. The Framingham study began in 1948 and continues… They followed dietary fat consumption and the development of heart disease among its 5,000+ inhabitants from Framingham, MA. When the first follow-up was concluded investigators were unable to find any correlation between fat intake, cholesterol, and heart disease.
As with the Minnesota Coronary Experiment, the data was never deliberately published.
After a 30-year follow-up, the study found that a 1% per year reduction in cholesterol was linked with a 14% increased cardiovascular mortality and 11% increased total mortality.
Early Opponent of Trans-Fats Lives to 102 – What Can We Learn from Him?
Fred Kummerow was a biochemist who spent nearly 50 years advocating a government ban on the use of trans-fats in processed foods.
Kummerow was one of the first scientists to hypothesize a link between processed foods and heart disease.
While studying lipids in the 1950s he analyzed diseased arteries from about two dozen people who’d died of heart attacks. He discovered that the vessels were filled with trans-fats.
Similar testing involving pigs with diets heavy in artificial fats found high levels of artery-clogging plaque in them.
Kummerow published his findings about trans-fats in 1957. His report was criticized, discredited, and dismissed. He was jeered by people when presenting his research at scientific conferences.
He contended that the processed food industry enjoyed a cozy relationship with scientists, and played a major role in keeping trans-fats in Americans’ diets.
Eventually people started listening. Dr. Walter Willett of the Nurses’ Health Study credits Kummerow with inspiring him to include trans-fats analysis in the Nurses’ Health Study.
One finding showed a direct link between consumption of trans-fats and heart disease in women.
Bad Oils Linked to Health Problems
Trans-fats are linked to increased inflammation. They’re not just linked to heart disease and stroke.
Vegetable and seed oils are highly unstable. When heated to 180 degrees Celsius they create neurotoxic DNA-mutating chemicals that are linked to cancer causation.
Each time the oils are re-used, the concentration of these toxic chemicals increases massively. A study showed that by the 5th day of re-use, it had 5x the concentration of the first day (which already have massive levels).
Your Body Craves Fats… Don’t Be Duped by the Low-Fat Craze!
Considering the number of studies showing the virtue of saturated fats and the harm of polyunsaturated fats, you’d do well to choose truly healthy fats (see below). They’re a key nutrient for your brain and heart, and are critically important for both.
The key take-away is to make sure the foods you eat contain healthy fats, and no hydrogenated fats.
Most seed oils contain high levels of omega-6 oils, which also contribute to inflammation and disease.
Your Absolutely Best Bet
Your best bet is to stick with natural healthy fats… including:
- Full-fat milk
- Grass-fed beef (unprocessed)
- Ocean-caught fish (not farmed fish!)
- Olive oil (pure)
- Coconut oil
- Dark chocolate
Eliminate all seed oils, hydrogenated oils, and partially hydrogenated oils. They damage your heart, brain, and other organs.
Skip 99% of packaged foods and relearn how to prepare your own food at home, where you can control the ingredients in your food.
Hydrogenated oils and seed oils are hidden in nearly every box of crackers and cereal, bag of chips, candy bars, salad dressings, peanut butter, Hamburger Helper, ice cream, butter spreads, and even “healthy” granola bars.
In other words, eat what your grandparents and great-grandparents ate… with the addition of olive oil and avocados, which weren’t widely available to them.
Watch Out for Fast Food (And Other) Restaurants
You’d also be wise to check out the oils your favorite fast food or sit-down restaurant uses. Virtually guarantee they contain inflammatory seed oils (most often canola, cottonseed, or soybean).
- Pei Wei Chinese restaurant uses soybean oil
- McDonald’s uses canola oil for their fries and burgers
- Arby’s uses vegetable oil containing canola oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and/or palm oil for their curly fries
- Sonic uses a blend of canola, soybean, and sunflower
- Krispy Kreme most likely uses a blend of palm oil, soybean oil, cottonseed, and canola oil. We don’t know what Dunkin’ Donuts uses, but it’s likely similar.
Unfortunately these bad oils have high smoke points, and so are “better” for fried foods. But fried foods are NOT “better” for you and your health! Maybe it’s time to wean yourself off of them?
Isn’t it time to ditch restaurants that use dangerous oils (which is nearly all of them!)… and prepare your own foods from scratch with ingredients you can control?
There are hundreds of food blogs online these days. You still may have to substitute any unhealthy ingredients (i.e., canola oil) with more wholesome oils.
Almost anything that comes in a can or box can be made at home – and most of them are simpler than you might expect.
The real way coronary heart disease is reduced? Regular daily exercise and eating “real” food!
Winning Through Childhood Cancer – A Father’s Journey to a New Life
What would you do if you were in this man’s shoes? His life changes forever the night his 5-year-old son showed him his pink pee. Diagnosis: Stage 4. Worst news ever.
Discover how Logan Duvall navigated this bombshell diagnosis, how he implemented simple lifestyle changes and virtually unknown (inexpensive) adjunct therapies in an effort to save his son’s life, and the pivotal words of a health food store owner that forever changed him.
Listen for the hidden treasures he discusses that aid wellness. (You’ll “never” hear them from a doctor.) Plus, how he framed his son’s focus towards healing and a better life, and why that was important.
No matter what you’re personally struggling with, this podcast is filled to the brim with principles you can apply to your own life today.
Watch the video on YouTube now . Prefer audio only? Listen on Spotify now .