Saturated Fats May Not Raise Heart Disease Risk

It’s no secret that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every year heart disease claims the lives of an estimated 610,000 people. And an estimated 735,000 more are hospitalized after having heart attacks. But what’s the cause?

There’s more than one risk factor that leads to heart disease. Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels , inflammation, and lack of exercise to name a few.

And then there’s poor food choices. For decades, saturated fat has been vilified for causing plaque build-up that blocks arteries that leads to heart disease. But not all saturated fat is created equal. For example, naturally-occurring saturated fats found in foods like nuts, avocados, fish, and coconuts aren’t the same as partially hydrogenated saturated fats found in processed foods.

In fact, new research suggests that consuming saturated fats may not even be a risk factor for heart disease. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers, researchers found that there were no differences in heart health when they compared results from people who ate a high-fat, low-carb diet to people who ate a low-fat, high-carb diet.

“The very high intake of total and saturated fat did not increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular diseases,” said researcher Ottar Nygard, who participated in the study. In fact, researchers found that consuming higher amounts of saturated fats actually helped improve blood pressure, triglycerides, insulin sensitivity, and blood sugar levels.

So does that mean you can munch your way through a chocolate cake, scarf down some donuts, and enjoy fried food every day of the week? No. For most people, a healthy diet should include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish, legumes, low-fat dairy or soy foods, and plenty of water. Just take a look at MagicKitchen.com’s selection of Low-Sodium meals, and you’ll find a great range of healthy meals all made from fresh ingredients.

Based on the results of this study, researchers believe the age-old advice to follow a low-fat diet has finally been disproved. “It may be more important for public health to encourage reductions in processed flour-based products, high processed fats, and foods with added sugar,” said lead researcher Simon Nitter Dankel.