This topic I am truly passionate about. It's something I will keep saying until everyone is on board. Because it is so important.
Fat is not making us fat. And cholesterol is not giving us heart disease.
If you want to be healthy, you need healthy fats. And healthy fats include saturated fat. I know, it sounds so wrong. It’s ingrained in us to avoid saturated fat and cholesterol.
We need fat for many reasons. Saturated fat included. And we need cholesterol. Sorry to sound like a broken record but when you have heard one thing so many times (“watch your cholesterol”) it takes a bit of repetition to change your thinking. It may also take evidence and reasoning so please read on.
Saturated fat has been demonized. We have been told that high cholesterol levels will give us heart disease. We have been misinformed. This is simply not true.
I’m going to tell you how the demonetization of cholesterol and saturated fat began but first consider this: a hundred years ago less than one percent of Americans where obese and coronary heart disease was unknown. A hundred years ago saturated fats where enjoyed liberally; full fat milk, cream, butter, eggs, red meat...
Wait.....so our great-grandparents ate liberal amounts of food containing saturated fat and stayed free of chronic disease? Yes. And all that cholesterol didn’t give them heart disease? Nope.
So are you wondering why you have been told to avoid saturated fats and cholesterol? I sure was! When I found out what our (healthy) ancestors where eating I realized that something was wrong. I released that I had been taught to be scared of something my body needs.
We have been misinformed. This is how it all started...
This misinformation began with a study publish by Ancel Keys in 1953. He wanted to prove that death from heart disease was correlated to the percentage of calories from fat in the diet. Keys collected data from 22 countries. He then proceeded to publish data from just 6 countries. This data from the 6 countries showed a correlation between heart disease and dietary fats. Yes, you read that right. Keys left out data from 16 countries. How could this correlation be accurate? It’s wasn’t. But data from 16 of the countries did not fall in line with his desired results, so he simply left it out.
Keys could of proven that increasing the percent of calories from fat in the diet reduces the number of deaths form coronary heart disease. All he would of had to do is pick 6 different countries. But he chose 6 counties that presented the results he was looking for. When looking at all the data there is no correlation.
Keys published a more detailed study in 1970 called the Seven Countries Study. In this study he left out countries that eat a lot of fat but have little heart disease. He also left out countries with low fat consumption and a high rate of heart disease. This flawed study further cemented the (false) association of fat consumption and death from heart disease.
Key study lead to a report released in 1977 stating “Dietary Goals For The United States”. The dietary goals where basically eat less fat and cholesterol and eat more complex carbohydrates from grains, vegetables and fruits.
And the low-fat, high-carb lifestyle began. So did the epidemic of obesity with the diabetes epidemic soon to follow. Replacing fats with a highly processed, high-carb diet was a huge mistake. A mistake that has been the main contribution to our epidemic of obesity and diabetes.
Here is a graph showing a complete study so you can see how cholesterol really effects death by heart disease. This is from World Health Organization's MONICA study.
Notice that the Aboriginals have the lowest cholesterol, yet the highest death rate from heart disease. The Swiss have the highest cholesterol levels yet one of the lowest rates of death from heart disease. There is just no correlation!
Did I mention that fat is good?
Fat signals satiety. It keeps you full and satisfied for hours. It keeps your blood sugar steady. Low-fat foods drive hunger. They causes sugar spikes and drops, driving you to eat more often. When your hungry and need something quick you often eat convenient, processed foods. These foods are devoid of nutrients and high in sugar. This creates cravings for more because your body is not getting the nutrients it needs. Your body just wants to be satisfied and nourished (that is what fat is good for).
Okay, so fat is satisfying and cholesterol is a good guy too. So what’s so good about cholesterol? Oh so many things...
Cholesterol is your friend. More than your friend; it’s vital.
We need cholesterol because:
- Vitamin D is made from cholesterol
- It makes bile salts that help us digest fats.
- Many important hormones are made from cholesterol, including the sex hormones.
- Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant that protects us against free radicals.
- Cholesterol is a repair substance. It’s used to repair wounds, this includes tears and irritations in the arteries.
- Cholesterol is found in every cell, providing waterproofing and structural integrity.
- And it’s vital to the function of the brain and nervous system.
In conclusion, to put it no so lightly, we would be dead without cholesterol. It’s a very good friend given a very bad reputation. How unfair.
If your still not convinced....
Cholesterol is so vital that our bodies make it. Our bodies don’t want to risk not having it on hand. On average, only 25% of cholesterol in our body comes from our diet. Our liver produces the other 75%. So if your not consuming cholesterol rich foods, your body will step in and make more. So please, eat the yolks. They a nutrient powerhouse with the added bonus of healthy cholesterol.
Here’s the good thing. You can choose what to eat. We can choose to eat the yolks.
If you were hesitant before, you now have permission to eat a three egg omelet, loads of butter and a nice juicy steak. All in the same day...