In June, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a memorandum that shocked the health world. Just when you thought the myths and lies about the “hazards” of saturated fats were finally buried under a mountain of scientific evidence, the AHA stirred the pot again with a tirade against coconut oil.
Quoting from the Heart Association’s report:
“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil.”
In the same advisory, they recommended limiting saturated fats to six percent or less of daily calories.
Their statement and the resulting furor might leave you wondering if dietary fat is the cause of disease and obesity.
Today I’ll show you why eating a diet that is high in fats (including the vilified saturated fat) is actually an important key to longevity. You’ll also learn how a high healthy-fat diet can recharge your ability to produce energy at a cellular level, reduce inflammation, boost your metabolism and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
But first, let’s address…
How the AHA Vilified Coconut Oil (Without including it in their Studies!)
You might think that the Heart Association made their recommendations based on new research. Not true. The studies cited by the AHA were published in the 1960s and 1970s – the. dawn of the low fat era.
Worse still, the four cherry-picked studies used to craft the recommendations did not even involve coconut oil!
And if that’s not enough, the organization urged consumers to replace saturated fats with margarine, vegetable and corn oils, suggesting that this could cut heart disease risk by as much as 30 percent.
Vegetable Oils: The True Health Villains
Unfortunately (for anyone who believes this dietary propaganda) it has been abundantly established that margarine – which often contains deadly trans fat – and polyunsaturated vegetable oils are highly inflammatory. They are also easily oxidized, which increases the risk of cellular damage and DNA mutation.
In stark contrast to promoting health, a diet rich in these fats promotes obesity, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular damage and even blindness.
So, let’s take a look at what some of the research says about the fats the Heart Associate regards as “healthy”:
- Damaged Polyunsaturated Fats Promote Heart Disease: PUFAs are quite vulnerable to oxidative damage, especially when heated (or when struck by UV light when they are present in the skin). The resulting compounds are toxic lipid oxidation products (LOPs), which encourage the buildup of arterial plaque and promote heart attack and stroke. A large trial conducted from 1966 to 1973 and published recently in the British Medical Journal found that vegetable oil consumption was linked to an increased risk of death from heart disease and all-cause mortality. The Journal’s press release about the study states that the:
“…Clinical trial shows that replacing saturated animal fats with omega-6 polyunsaturated vegetable fats is linked to an increased risk of death among patients with heart disease.”
- Vegetable Oil Doubles Risk of Blindness: The delicate structure of the eye is especially prone to oxidative damage. And a diet high in PUFA-rich vegetable oil has been found to double the risk of blindness in studies conducted by The Macular Degeneration Foundation. Another study of patients with the disease found that those who consumed the most vegetable oil progressed at 3.8 times the rate of those eating the least.
- Vegetable Oils are Highly Inflammatory: Inflammation is a primary cause of chronic disease. And studies show that a diet rich in omega-6 fatty acids promotes inflammation, constricts blood vessels and increases risk of clotting. Modern Western diets typically have ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 that are 20 or even 30:1. Compare this to the optimal evolutionary ratio of 1:1 or 2:1, and it is clear that the LAST thing most people need are MORE omega-6 fats.
- Vegetable Oils Cause Metabolic & Mitochondrial Damage: You are what you eat. And when it comes to polyunsaturated fats, this is literally true. You see, in excess, these fats cannot be burned by the body as fuel. Instead, they are integrated into the membranes of your cells and the mitochondria inside the cells. This impedes the flow of nutrients into the cell and the outflow of waste. And it can cripple the ability of mitochondria to produce energy.
And when it comes to your health, your microscopic mitochondria play a gargantuan role…
Mitochondria: Your Key to Healthy Aging, Sharp Thinking & Vibrant Energy
Often called “the powerhouse of the cell”, mitochondria generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the chemical means by which your body uses and stores energy. Mitochondria are also signaling molecules. They affect how your genes are expressed. And they even play a role in apoptosis (programmed cell death). This is a critical process that helps rid the body of old, damaged and cancerous cells.
But as your mitochondria become damaged – which can be the result of too many omega-6 oils – symptoms like fatigue and headaches can set in. And the risk of chronic disease, accelerated aging and cognitive decline increase.
Healthy, stable dietary fats – namely saturated and monounsaturated fats – are the preferred fuel for mitochondria. These fats are resistant to oxidative damage in the first place. They also “burn clean”, producing few reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals.
It’s also important to note that good fats are preferable to carbohydrates when it comes to the integrity of your mitochondria.
Eat Fat, Live Longer… Eat Carbs, Die Faster?
When your body burns primarily carbohydrates for fuel (instead of healthy fats), an excess of free radicals are formed. These reactive oxygen species damage cellular and mitochondrial membranes and can mutate DNA – key factors in the development of degenerative disease.
Conversely, when your body primarily burns healthy fats, your liver generates unique water-soluble fats called ketones. Not only do ketones burn more efficiently than carbs (creating fewer free radicals), they also reduce inflammation, improve glucose metabolism and reduce cellular waste.
It’s no wonder that the PURE Study, published in The Lancet last month, found that high-fat diets are associated with longevity… while those high in carbs are linked to early death.
Reporting on this study of more than 135,000 adults in 18 countries, STAT News states that:
“…Those with the highest intake of dietary fat (35 percent of daily calories) were 23 percent less likely to have died during the study period than those with the lowest fat intake (10 percent of calories).
“…Upending conventional wisdom, the findings for carbohydrate intake went in the opposite direction. PURE participants with the highest carbohydrate intake (77 percent of daily calories) were 28 percent more likely to have died than those with the lowest carbohydrate intake (46 percent of calories).“
The researchers also concluded that saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke and that global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered. Perhaps someone should tell the American Heart Association!
Ignore Bad Health Advice: Follow an Ancestral Diet
Mainstream media and sugar-funded organizations like the American Heart Association will continue to push their agenda, at the expense of your health.
By following the diet our ancestors enjoyed – rich in healthy fats like those found in grass-fed and pasture-raised animal products, coconut oil, and avocados – you provide your body with clean-burning cellular fuel while minimizing harmful metabolic byproducts.
It is in alignment with your ancestral genetics that you achieve your greatest health and longevity. All while enjoying the foods your body was designed to crave: Juicy grass-fed steaks… rich and creamy pastured butter and ghee… sharp raw cheese… and fragrant, tropical coconut oil.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kelley’s academic background is in biology and chemistry and for the last 15+ years, she has focused on the study of nutritional biochemistry… and the proven powers of compounds in foods to heal the body.
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