Last week I explained how you could follow the same exercise and dietary patterns for years, not introduce any new bad habits and still get fatter. Frustrating, I know.
Now I am the first one to decry the “victim” society we live in, where everyone is a victim and nothing is anyone’s fault and for many; personal responsibility does not exist. But in this one case, I will admit that most of us in who are over age 50 have been fed a line of bull since we were kids (no pun intended).
This gross misinformation has become an integral part of how we think and look at food. Let me explain some of the myths:
- Saturated fat is bad for you
- Stop eating meat – it will clog your arteries
- High-carb, low fat meals are healthy
- Eating the yoke of the egg is bad for you and will raise your cholesterol
- Whole grains are very healthy
I’ll guarantee many people reading this article would have little trouble going along with most if not all 5 statements above.
I recently read and EXCELLENT blog post from which I pulled several quotes for my article here. Please see http://www.strengthsensei.com/heart-disease-get-the-fats-straight/ for the full article and link to the book by Mike Sheridan.
Much of this information can be traced back to one major – but highly flawed study back in early 70’s by Ancel Keys. In short; since Americans had the highest intake of fat and had the highest rate of heart disease and since Japan had the lowest intake of fat and the lowest rate of heart disease it is an obvious conclusion that fat causes heart disease. Seems logical, but it is incorrect.
It has taken scientists years to admit this erroneous conclusion and start to produce evidence to the contrary.
“A 2009 review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed 21 studies, covering saturated intake from over 350,000 people, and found no association with heart disease!”
It was only a few years ago I saw best-selling author and nutrition expert, Johnny Bowden speak at a conference. He explains: “Low-fat is the flat-earth theory of human nutrition.”
A quick bit of logic: Fat has a very high caloric content coming in a 9kcal/gram compared with carbs and protein at 4kcal/gram. So when Americans were told to stop eating all that fat, those calories we were used to taking in on a daily basis had to come from somewhere. This is where the carbs came in.
Americans started following the dreaded Food Pyramid from the 80’s and 90’s and promptly got fat! Very fat. Hence from the 70’s through today, obesity rates doubles and diabetes tripled. Here is a great image to explain:
From Mike Sheridan “Eat Meat and Stop Jogging” – Available on Amazon
The enzyme you may not know about here is glucagon. This is the one that helps us burn fat. Since insulin shuts this off, the fat stays put. As a result of all these high carb meals, we get used to insulin spikes. Eventually, the fat levels in our blood become elevated – this is known as triglycerides. Triglyceride levels are the ones we have to watch and the chemical that IS associated with heart disease.
I am not going to get deep into the chemistry of cholesterol here, but here is the short version:
HDL – good
LDL – “light fluffy” good (type A)
LDL – “small dense” BAD (Type B)
So what kind of diets increase this amount of small dense LDL particles? You guessed it, high carb foods.
Carbs alone are not to blame. The other partner in crime here is the increased use of Polyunsaturated Fatty acids (PUFA’s). Examples of Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s) include: Canola oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and corn oil. Their use has skyrocketed in the last 50 years as an alternative to saturated fat, with soybean and canola oil increasing the most. Don’t get me started on soy!
Food companies LOVE these types of fats because they allow for cheap processing of the foods we eat. Never mind the damage they cause to us.
Those of you who know me have heard me go on about the importance of Omega 3 fish oil. Why Omega 3? Our ancient ancestors had an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of 1:1. Keep in mind – Omega 6 is known as an “inflammatory” compound. Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory.
Many modern diseases are now thought to be inflammatory responses. This includes heart disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. Any idea what our ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is now? An incredible 25:1!
The combination of polyunsaturated fats and high carbohydrate diets now has a direct link to increased LDL type B, increased triglycerides and hence heart disease.
In summary, researchers Jeff S. Volek and Cassandra E. Forsythe wrote in a 2005 paper in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism:
“The recommendation to intentionally restrict saturated fat is unwarranted and only serves to contribute to the misleading rhetoric surrounding the health effects of saturated fat.”