(Health Secrets) For many years we have been told that the saturated fats eaten by our ancestors are behind heart disease. The answer was substitution of highly processed polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), the most common of which are the vegetables oils, shortenings and margarine. During the 50 years that we embraced this advice, incidence of heart disease has skyrocketed. Now a new study from Australia has produced some stunning conclusions about saturated fats and heart disease — conclusions that say it’s time to start eating real fats again.
Although the advice to load up on vegetable oils and avoid saturated fats has been given for 50 year, no clinical trial evidence was ever able to document that this was the right thing to do. In an effort to test the advice, the scientists in Australia evaluated new data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study, a randomized, controlled trial that followed 458 male participants for 7 years. The men were divided into two groups, a control group that continued to eat their typical diet, and an intervention group that replaced saturated fats with omega 6 linoleic acid from safflower oil and safflower oil polyunsaturated margarine.
What was the outcome? The intervention group had higher rates of death than the control group! Death from all causes increased by 17.6%, death from cardiovascular disease increased by 17.2%, and death from coronary heart disease increased by 16.3%. Although these are amazing results, the scientists went on to report that “an increase of 5% of food energy from [omega-6 fatty acids] predicted 35% and 29% higher risk of cardiovascular death and death from all cause mortality, respectively”.
Time to throw out the lipid hypothesis?
Why were we told to avoid saturated fats such as those found in meats, cheese, butter, palm oil and coconut oil? The advice was based on the lipid hypothesis, which proposed that cholesterol found in saturated fats raises blood cholesterol, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, referred to “bad” cholesterol. This hypothesis has served the pharmaceutical industry well. Elevated LDL cholesterol was seen as a major contributor to athersclerosis and heart disease, and the magic bullet was statins, the drugs that have been the biggest moneymakers in the history of patent medicines.
Back in the late 1990’s, some medical experts began to challenge the lipid hypothesis. They have had difficulty mustering support because there is so much money to be made by ignoring all evidence that the lipid hypothesis is flawed. It remains to be seen whether the results from the Australian study can be swept under the rug.
Enter the degeneration hypothosis
One of the doctors challenging the lipid hypothesis is Dr. Dwight Lundell, who points to oxidation as the real culprit in atherosclerosis and heart disease. According to his theory, referred to as the degenerative hypothesis, LDL cholesterol only becomes a problem when it is oxidized. In fact, LDL cholesterol is essential for life and must be transported from the liver where it is made, to other parts of the body where it assists with maintenance and repair.
Lipoproteins have a core of triglycerides and fat-soluble vitamins, which is surrounded by a membrane that can be penetrated by cholesterol molecules. This is convenient for the transport of LDL, allowing it to quickly get to where it is needed. But some of the membrane lipids are PUFAs, and these can become easily oxidized in people who do not have an adequate supply of antioxidants, and who don’t exercise. Oxidized LDL is a marker for heart disease risk, and strongly implicated in the development of atherosclerosis.
How to protect your heart
Hundreds of studies have documented the anti-aging, anti-disease properties of antioxidants. It comes as no surprise that supporting your own natural antioxidants and getting more antioxidants from your food would the pathway to a long life free of heart disease. In an article for Alliance for Natural Health, integrative medicine practitioner and advocate of the paleo diet, Chris Kresser, describes glutathione as the bullet proof vest protecting against oxidation.
The body makes glutathione naturally in the liver, but as we age, glutathione production diminishes, which is not a good thing because aging itself produces oxidative stress at the cellular level. So it’s important to feed your body the glutathione precurses, which are cysteine, glutamic acid and glycene. Of these three amino acids, cysteine is the most critical for generation of glutathione. This is because it is almost completely absent from out diets. S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can also boost glutathione, as can unadulterated whey protein.
Organic and grass fed meats, watermelon, walnuts, avocado, asparagus, broccoli, and tomatoes are other good choices for enhancing glutathione production, as are most dark green leafy vegetables. Ricotta cheese, chottage cheese, wheat germ and oat flakes complete the list.
It’s just common sense
For half a century we have been in the grip of pharmaceutical and food technology companies. Food technologists have told us to stop eating real food and eat the processed products technology has spawned. When we get sick and diseased following this advice, drug companies have there to capitalize on what is left of us. Yet our ancestors were not sick and diseased in any way that resembles what is going on today. Isn’t it just basic common sense that we should stop listening to bad advice?
For more information:
Learn more about glutathione at https://alignlife.com/articles/nutrition/slow_aging_by_boosting_glutathione/
Published with permission from Alignlife. Original article link is here.