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Saturated Fats: Is Cholesterol Increased and the Risk of Heart Disease Really?

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Those who offer low carb and high fat foods make sure that the official recommendations are wrong.

Tips for limiting saturated fat intake have been part of the official policy of many governments for decades.

But many people ignore these tips because they prefer to believe that saturated fats – found in large proportions in foods such as meat, dairy, butter, butter, cakes and cookies, as well as coconut and palm oils – they are not badfor our health even if they are consumed in large quantities.

It is almost certain that you consume more saturated fat than the officially recommended amount if you follow any of the popular dietslow carbohydrates such as a keto or paleo diet, or if you tend to add a spoonful of butter or fat to your coffee every morning.

If you eat much more than 100 grams of fatty meat, tortillas or cheese every day, you will easily exceed the recommended limit. In the case of the United Kingdom, it is 20 grams for women and 30 grams for men.


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Coconut oil contains more saturated fat than butter.

The conventional view of science says too much saturated fat blood cholesterol levels rise, which can lead to blockage of the arteries and increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.

But some scientists say saturated fat is not a problem with heart disease, but they say chronic inflammationin the body

Eat high-fat, low-carb foods

Those who rely on eating low-carb, high-fat foods suggest – controversially – that current low-fat and high-carbohydrate dietary guidelines they are wrong,

They say that obesity and diabetes will be better resolved through fat consumption – including saturated fat – reducing carbohydrates and avoiding snacks between meals, a position that has been called into question by experts from the British Dietetic Association and others who believe it is not that the guidelines are wrong but that We don't follow them.

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For the general population, health organizations in most countries recommend it limit fat, especially saturated fat.

For example, dietary guidelines in the UK recommend that up to 35% of our dietary energy (calories) come from fat and about 50% from carbohydrates.

It is worth noting that this could actually be considered a diet of moderate fat and carbohydrates rather than a low fat and high carbohydrate diet.

But especially for saturated fat, the numbers are even lower. The United Kingdom recommends that you do not include more than 11% of our calories for food and drink, while the United States and the World Health Organization recommend less than 10%.

This would be approximately 20 grams per day for women (equivalent to 2.5 tablespoons butter or four sausages at the supermarket) and 30 grams a day for men (a quarter pound of cheeseburger, plus four tablespoons of cream).

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Two slices of pizza have about 10 grams of saturated fat.

The American Heart Association goes even further, offering a figure of 5-6%.

Because the headlines are often contradictory and the experts seem to disagree, it's no surprise that people don't know what to believe about saturated fat. What is the reality?

This is "disturbing"

Lynn Harton, a registered dietitian and dietary advisor for the charity Heart Heart Cholesterol Charity, says the latest trend to consume saturated fat compared to other types of fat is very anxioussince we eat too much already.

UK adults exceed the recommendations by consuming 12.5% ​​of calories from saturated fat, although their total fat intake is well within their target.

Americans get 11% of their calories from saturated fat, and Australians average 12%.

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Several studies recommend reducing saturated fat and replacing it with another type of fat.

"Several factors contribute to raising blood cholesterol, but a high-fat diet Definitely one of them, and this has been confirmed in studies from the 1950s, "says Garton.

"Moreover, despite some contradictory claims, the large amount of scientific evidence shows that total cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, often referred to as "bad cholesterol", contributes to heart disease in a proven way. "

Garton adds that some people may benefit from consuming even less saturated fat than the standard recommendation, especially those who have other risk factors for heart disease.

They are not the villains of the movie

That said, saturated fat no they are yes definitely bad How you thought.

This is because it is just one of several dietary factors that contribute to the risk of heart disease, all of which are related.

Not to mention that if you remove some saturated fat from your diet, you will probably replace those calories with something else.

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There are seven grams of saturated fat in a tablespoon of butter.

"Some studies have called into question the direct link between saturated fat and heart disease, but have generally not considered what replace to saturated fat when reduced in the diet, a point that is crucial, "says Garton.

Research supports this idea.

According to one study, when 5% of calories from saturated fat are replaced by an equal number of calories from polyunsaturated fat (such as salmon, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds) or monounsaturated fat (such as olive and rapeseed oil), the risk of death for any reason was reduced by 19% and 11% respectively.

Both types of replacement "good" fat They reduced heart attacks. Like replacing saturated fat with whole carbohydrates like brown rice and whole grain bread.

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Substitution of saturated fat with monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil, reduces deaths by 11%, a study shows.

However, when sugar and refined starches (such as white flour) replace saturated fat, in reality heart attack riskincreases,

"Most national dietary guidelines, including in the UK, Australia and the US, already recognize that the exchange of some of the saturated fat in our diets for unsaturated fatit's healthy for the heart, "says Peter Clifton, co-author of this study and associate professor of nutrition at the University of South Australia.

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"To this we can add that it is probably also good to replace some foods high in saturated fat with whole grains, but definitely it's not right to trade them for sugar or refined carbohydrates. This can be worse than not reducing saturated fat. "

"Unfortunately, when the food industry started to create low-fat versions of foods such as cooked foods, desserts and yoghurts, the percentage of sugar often increases, which probably would not reduce the risk of heart disease, "he adds.

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Some studies say that changing some of the saturated fat in our diet for unsaturated fat is healthy for the heart.

There is also the fact that some types of saturated fatty acids – which form saturated fat – are less harmful than others.

For example, stearic acid, which represents about half of the saturated fat in dark chocolate, does not raise cholesterol in the blood.

The other saturated fatty acid – palmitic acid, however, does, so it's better not to eat the whole bar.

The Food Matrix

Other studies show that the "nutritional matrix" is important.

In cheese and yogurt, for example, calcium (a mineral that can maintain normal blood pressure) may cause these foods to have less impactin raising LDL cholesterol This, for example, bacon.

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It may also help to explain the fact that consumption of dairy products (including full-fat dairy products) does not appear to be related to coronary heart disease.

However, it is important that analytical studies be skeptical because, like many nutritional studies, they show correlation rather than causation.

In other words, people who eat more dairy can have a healthier lifestyle overall. It is also important to keep in mind that studies focused on dairy products tend to look at milk and yogurt, but not so much butter or cream.

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Most yoghurt fats are saturated fats, but dairy products appear to have less negative effects than animal fats, for example.

Of course, good luck and good genes They can also go a long way. "We all know someone whose grandmother lived to the age of 103, eating a lot of butter, cream and fat," Garton says.

"But at the population level, all the evidence shows that the healthiest diet is one with many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and sources rich in unsaturated fat, such as nuts and oily fish."

"Instead of focusing on the individual nutrients, we should consider a common diet and include many of these heart-healthy foods, " he adds.

In summary, it is more advisable to eat a healthy Mediterranean-style diet and Avoid oil coffees, hamburgers and bacon.

* Read the original BBC Future English Story


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