The theory that saturated fat is a cause of cardiovascular disease is still widely believed today. Mainstream medicine still claims that high intakes of saturated fat are a contributory factor in the formation of atherosclerosis, which in turn is claimed to be a cause of cardiovascular disease. In reality this viewpoint is little more than pseudoscience. In fact, evidence suggests that high fat diets including those with saturated fat may actually be protective of cardiovascular disease.
What Is A High Fat Diet?
High fat diets are by their nature low carbohydrate diets. In fact the very highest fat diet should really have no real meaningful carbohydrate content at all. The Atkins diet is a typical high fat diet. It contains fat and protein, but no starch or sugar. The absence of sugar is interesting because this may be the reason that high fat diets are able to protect from cardiovascular disease. In this respect, they may be effective because they cause weight loss.
Weight loss And Cardiovascular Disease
Abdominal obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Belly fat is problematic because it signifies an underlying metabolic disorder that that may be the cause of cardiovascular disease. Weight loss reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease because as the belly fat is removed, the underlying metabolic disorder recedes. Sugar is implicated in the formation of belly fat which means that sugar is implicated in cardiovascular disease.
Fat Or Sugar
Make no mistake, fat and sugar together are a dangerous combination. However, the danger comes mainly from the sugar, which when eaten alone is also damaging. In contrast, in the absence of sugar, fat is relatively benign. High fat diets, containing no sugar, cause weight loss because they reverse the metabolic dysfunction caused by sugar in the diet. When people switch to high fat diets they get leaner and healthier.
Why Is Fat Blamed For Cardiovascular Disease?
That saturated fat is a cause of cardiovascular disease is based on the evidence that as saturated fat in the diet increases, detrimental changes to plasma lipoproteins occur. However, many of these studies have serious methodological flaws. For example, when you increase the saturated fat in the diet, carbohydrate content falls, and with it the fibre content is reduced. Because fibre is known to change lipoprotein levels, it cannot be said that saturated fat is the causative factor.