Heart Disease was considered a very rare disease in the early 20th century. The lipid hypothesis theory that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease changed the shape of the nation in the 1950’s.
Society began to run away from saturated fat and cholesterol and turned to man-made processed fats as a replacement. As corporate food processing machines began to become more popular so did the occurrence of heart disease. Today, the lipid hypothesis can be considered one of the greatest scientific myths to date.
Where It All Started
The lipid hypothesis was developed by Ancel Keys in the 1950’s. This theory states that there is a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of coronary heart disease. With questionable evidence, Keys’ went about writing articles and promoting this hypothesis throughout the medical world.
Meanwhile, hundreds of subsequent studies testing this hypothesis have found differing conclusions. Despite the lack of evidence this notion took off throughout the healthcare world and was fueled by the vegetable oil and food processing industries that sought to benefit from this key finding.
Close to 90% of all well-planned, properly documented studies investigating the lipid hypothesis do not support the claim that “artery-clogging” saturated fats and dietary cholesterol cause heart disease. Scientists examining a clogged artery will only find that about 26% of the fat in the plaque is saturated. More than half of the fat is polyunsaturated.
The 10 Reasons We Need Saturated Fats and Cholesterol
According to Dr. Mary Enig, PhD saturated fats and cholesterol are necessary for the following reasons:
1. Saturated fatty acids and cholesterol constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They give our cells necessary stiffness and integrity.
2. They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the bone at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated.
3. Cholesterol is the precursor to Vitamin D and major hormones that regulate stress, energy and sex hormone function. These include estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone).
4. They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease. They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins such as Tylenol.
5. They enhance the immune system and act as an anti-depressant by enhancing serotonin receptor function. Low cholesterol is highly associated with violent and aggressive behavior, depression, and suicidal tendencies.
6. They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.
7. Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.
8. Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract. Cholesterol plays a vital role in the repair and maintenance of the intestinal wall, preventing leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and a host of other intestinal disorders.
9. Cholesterol is now understood to be a vital anti-oxidant that protects us from free radical damage and helps to heal any arterial damage that may have occurred.
10. Cholesterol is extraordinarily important for babies and children as they develop their brain and nervous system. Over half of the brain is composed of saturated fats and cholesterol. One of the richest sources of cholesterol is mother’s milk which also contains a special enzyme that helps the baby metabolize and use this nutrient.
Menopause is when many women do put on some extra weight and obviously a balanced diet will help with optimal health but cutting out cholesterol and saturated fats is not going to help with keeping your hormones healthy – so to go back to the old maxim of ‘a little of what you fancy does you good!’
Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Georgia. He is a chiropractor, exercise physiologist and natural health specialist. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition and exercise, and structural corrective chiropractic care.
For more information on him and his work go to www.exodushc.com