For the past sixty years, saturated fat and cholesterol have been almost synonymous with heart disease. Excitingly, due to extensive, high quality research fervently being conducted today, the stance on saturated fats and cholesterol is dramatically changing.
To understand this issue, first it is important to note that, while many studies have linked the intake of saturated fats to increased cholesterol, very few have actually documented the effects of ingested saturated fats on heart health and disease.
These are the studies that are being done today, long after cholesterol-boosting foods have been burdened with a terrible reputation, changing the face of nutrition recommendations across America among other countries.
In the last few years researchers have reviewed old studies and designed new studies to determine the effect of saturated fats (cholesterol) on the heart and cardiovascular system. In one meta-analysis by Harvard researcher Dr. Frank Hu, he reviewed 21 studies which included more than 347,747 subjects that measured the association between saturated fats and cardiovascular issues.
The results were astounding! Those who consumed the highest amount of saturated fat had the exact same incidence of any cardiovascular issue than those who consumed the least amount of saturated fat. (1) The result: saturated fat was not a cardiovascular risk factor.
Furthermore, a 2009 study conducted in Japan found that lower cholesterol actually indicated a greater risk of dying from any cause! That’s right, this study suggests that higher cholesterol indicates a lower risk of dying.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, looking at stress levels, digestive health, and lymphatic drainage is a much more accurate and effective way of determining overall health. While at LifeSpa we certainly encourage the utilization of modern tools and tests to learn more about the status of our health markers and thus take control of our health, the cholesterol marker and what it means to us is going through a major shift.
1. F.B. Hu et al. Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating The Association of Saturated Fat and Cardiovascular Disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91, no 3, 2010: 502-9
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