Saturated Fats and Heart Health

Two decades ago, the surge in health was eating fat-free or low-fat foods. The idea was believable; less fat meant fewer calories and effortless weight loss. Unfortunately, dieters found the lack of fat in their diets led to increased hunger since fat makes you feel full. Even worse, decreased fat levels altered the taste of foods, so manufacturers added excess sugars to keep the flavors similar. Keeping this in mind, how important is a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet? Read the information below from ReactDx, the cardiac event recorder experts, to learn how your diet can include indulgences while perfecting your cholesterol levels.

  • Shift the focus from types of cholesterol to the method cholesterol enters our bodies. Saturated fat does not significantly change heart health or reduce weight, mostly because dieters who no longer eat saturated fat-laden bacon for breakfast often trade fat for refined carbohydrates, such as a bagel. Refined carbohydrates raise triglyceride levels and reduce HDL (good) cholesterol levels, both risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
  • The term “saturated fats” actually encompasses many types of fats. Stearic acid, a saturated fat found in beef and dark chocolate, does not raise cholesterol. Likewise, the lauric acid in coconut oil is neither good nor bad for you. The reason saturated fats are often seen as dietary villains is because they are often a component of packaged cookies, cakes, and pizzas. These foods cannot be described as truly healthy, regardless of the type of fats they contain. According to Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, cardiologist, epidemiologist, and Harvard professor, “If you eat a lot of salt and trans fats and few fruits, vegetables, and fish, you’re at a high risk for heart disease no matter what your saturated fat intake is. Conversely, higher or lower saturated fat will have a small effect if you’re doing everything else right.”

By shifting the focus of your food from packaged meals in the supermarket to fresh food at the farmers’ market, you can reduce your LDL levels, raise your HDL levels, and eat the foods that seem counter-intuitive to a healthy cardiovascular diet: fresh beef, whole milk, and local fruits and vegetables. The fats in these foods will keep you feeling satisfied and your heart will benefit from fewer calories, which could easily lead to weight loss. To learn more about the latest in cardiovascular health, the cardiac event recorder team at ReactDx welcomes you to read our latest blogs.

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