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The Low-Fat Diet - The Trojan Horse of Heart Disease?
Exchange_Blogs_Admin posted:
"Eating cholesterol and saturated fat should translate into more cholesterol and plaque in your heart's coronary arteries.

Except when it doesn't."

There's a new study out that challenges some of the assumptions we've held for the last 40 years about diet and heart health.See what cardiologist James Beckerman, MD, has to say about this in his latest blog post . Then come back here to post your comments and ask your questions.
EngineerGuy responded:
Hi folks,

Re: making small, livable lifestyle changes can have a real impact on your heart health.

Moderation in everything, right? If moderation works for you, great. Moderation did not work for me. My arteries harden at a good clip, at anything near moderation at all.

Re: Many now recommend eggs as a high-protein breakfast food that may actually be preferable to refined carbohydrates and simple sugars found in many cereals and baked goods.

This was a revelation to me, about 3 years ago, also. It's not that eggs are so good. It's that refined carbs and flour are much worse than we thought. Baked goods are high calorie, empty of nutrition. Spell that "inflammation". That's a different way of looking at food, compared to earlier thought. Being low fat, no cholesterol, complex carbohydrate, high fiber, is good, but not good enough, contrary to what I used to believe.

Re: Pooled data from twenty-plus studies and nearly 350,000 participants and found no difference in the risk of heart disease between people with the lowest and highest intake of saturated fat.

The people who aren't eating saturated fat, in our society, are eating more donuts and flour products. Don't forget thousands of animal experiments, where saturated fat is highly atherogenic. Can we take these studies to say that we can eat saturated fat with abandon?

I'm following Dr. Fuhrman. We all know to eat more vegetables and fruit. Dr. Fuhrman has made a science out of it, maximizing nutrients per calorie. Based on my IMT (carotid artery ultrasound), I have reversed all my atherosclerosis, in 2 years on Fuhrman.

I spend most of my time on the Heart Health Fuhrman Ornish exchange.

Best regards, EngineerGuy
James_Beckerman_MD replied to EngineerGuy's response:
You make some great points!

One of the fascinating thing about research is that new information has to be interpreted in the context of prior data. The intriguing thing about this latest meta-analysis is that it looks at diet and cardiac endpoints in humans - as compared to animal studies. Animal studies are extremely helpful in generating hypotheses that we then translate into human research studies, but I agree - it's challenging to know what to do when the results conflict.

I also agree with you that the highly refined carbohydrates people eat in place of saturated fat are likely getting them into trouble at some point.

I'm glad that you have found a good solution for you and that it seems to be working. Take care.
Black57 replied to James_Beckerman_MD's response:
Finally, it seems like medical experts are getting it. I have been living this lifestyle for 7 years with outstanding benefits and results. I consider myself my own best lab rat. I know what and how I eat, I have seen my results and have had blood work done on a regular basis. I have cured myself of migraines, achy joints and itchy skin. Best of all is my incredible colon regularity. I eat fatty red meat, eggs, bacon, chicken, fish, cream ,butter and my blood lipids are enviable. I also consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. That does not mean that I eat oranges, carrots or potatoes, they are too high in sugar. But what I do eat<<< berries, cantalope, avocadoes, turnip greens and roots, collard gereens, mustard greens, Red, yellow and orange bell peppers,brocolli, cauliflower, zuchini, asparagus, spinach, jicama, just to name a few >>> will make even the strictes vegan's mouth water. I use this diet to keep diabetes at bay. Good food is much better than meds. My goal is to fight the need for meds with my love for whole foods.

The Atkins diet has been around for 30 years but the low carb diet, itself has been around for generations. I am so glad that I have bben able to get aound the wall that prvented me from achieving optimal health.

Carry on
david7134 responded:
When I was researching for a talk to medical students on risk factors for coronary artery disease, I found that a cholesterol of over 300 was only associated with a 1% increase in the incidence of a cardiovascular event above normal over 10 years. Then I found that statins did very little to prevent the development of primary disease. The best was about a percent or two reduction. They seemed to work with secondary dieseae, but that is more as an anti-inflamatory agent as the benefit is not associated with cholesterol lowering. Then you have the concept that angioplasty/stent and bypass do not have positive prognostic factors except in very severe disease. Most infarcts are in fact caused in the area of an artery that appered normal. The problem is that our "scholars" missed the boat. The problem is not directly related to cholesterol but to an unknown inflamatory factor. Cholesterol elevation in only associated with the gene malformation that is defective and also predisposes to the inflamation.

So if you are advocating cholesterol management, you are doing the same as the old guys when they were letting blood.
davebrown9 replied to EngineerGuy's response:
Regarding animal studies where saturated fat produced an atherogenic effect, the nutrient content of the remainder of the diet may have been the problem. From pages 81-83 of Nutrition Against Disease (1971) by Roger J. Williams, PhD:

No discussion of heart disease would be complete without mention of the question of saturated fats. It has come to be almost an orthodox position that if one wishes to protect oneself against heart disease, one should avoid eating saturated (animal) fats. While this idea may not be entirely in error, it is misleading in its emphasis. The evidence shows that high fat consumption, when accompanied by plenty of the essential nutrients which all the cells need, does not cause atherosclerosis or heart disease.

Rats have been used extensively to study the effects of diet on atherosclerosis. Under ordinary dietary conditions the inclusion of saturated fats in their diet will consistently promote the deposition of cholesterol in their arteries.(50) For 285 days rats were fed a diet containing 61.6 percent animal fat, but highly superior with respect to protein, mineral, and vitamin content, without producing any pathological changes in the aorta or in the heart.(51) The animals did, to be sure, become obese, as much as three to four times their normal weight. Animals fed vegetable fats at the same level fared essentially no better and no worse. These findings were based upon extensive long-term experiments at Yale, using a total of 600 rats, which were observed for as long as two years. There were no findings suggestive that either high animal fat diets or high vegetable fat diets were conducive under these conditions to atherosclerosis.

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The Heart Beat - James Beckerman, MD, FACC

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