Should you be scared of a higher fat diet?

Now – rightly or wrongly – you’ve probably been told that a low fat, higher carb – full of ‘heart-healthy’ grains – diet is ‘good’ for you.


‘Fat clogs your arteries’


‘Fat makes you fat’


‘Fat raises your cholesterol’


BUT – rightly or wrongly – you’ve also been told that you need to ditch the carbs to lose fat. 


So, I get it. 


It’s confusing. 


But what does the evidence say?


Well, check this…


In postmenopausal women who followed the low-fat guidelines…


A higher saturated fat intake was associated with less progression of coronary artery disease


Whereas…


A higher carb intake was associated with an increased progression of coronary artery disease


What’s more…


A 2010 study of all studies (where they look at many studies and look to find a consensus)


Found ‘no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease’


Now…


Before you go dipping your bacon in butter and swapping your milk for double cream…


The case is not closed.


I mean, when you get rid of something…


You don’t really know if it was a good decision until you assess what you replace it with, right?


And you might have heard about the benefits of omega 3 fats (found in oily fish) and omega 6 fats (found in nuts and olives etc.)?


Well, it appears that increasing your omega 3 and omega 6 intake instead of saturated fats could decrease your risk of coronary heart disease…


However, I want you to consider your situation here. 


I mean, a highER fat diet can seem scary due to the following foods being thought of as high in fat:


* Pizza

* Chips

* Biscuits

* Pastries

* Cake


The list goes on.


My point is that these are relatively high in fat.


But they’re also pretty high in carbs.


AND


Easy to overeat on, right?


Which means you eat more and put on fat


And…


End up blaming fat, right?


Oh, you want more?


I’ll give you more:


Saturated fat appears to raise your GOOD cholesterol (HDL) and change your BAD cholesterol (LDL) from being small and dense (bad) to large (largely benign)…


Whereas carbohydrates (particularly refined carbohydrates and in excess), may actually reduce your GOOD cholesterol (HDL) and increase your small and dense BAD (LDL) cholesterol. 

^^^ now, this is confusing things even more and raises the question of whether we need to improve the testing and guidelines before giving out recommendations? How legit is total cholesterol on overall heart disease risk? Should we be looking at the ratio of good to bad cholesterol? Or perhaps even just the small and dense bad cholesterol (as the larger bad cholesterol particles appear mostly benign)?


And as the guys in whitecoats put it:


‘Recent evidence indicates that limitations in carbohydrate intake can improve all features of atherogenic dyslipidemia.’

^^^ In English, this means lowering your carbs can improve the status of fatty deposits in your arteries


“Clinical studies have not yielded consistent evidence for adverse effects of saturated fat on cardiovascular disease risk factors other than LDL cholesterol’


‘The relative effect of dietary saturated fat on cardiovascular disease risk requires reevaluation.’


‘Respectively, dietary efforts to improve the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease risk associated with atherogenic dyslipidemia should primarily emphasise the limitation of refined carbohydrate intakes and a reduction in excess adiposity.’

^^^ the best thing you can do is lose fat!


But, I get it


It’s confusing.


So, let’s make things simple…


You can’t ignore:


* Your overall intake of food


* Your body weight


* Your body fat (especially around the stomach and organs)


* Lifestyle (exercise? Stress?)…Did Dr Atkins die of a heart attack because of stress, diet or life (he was in his 70s after all…)?


* What works well for YOU (rather than Jane, Margaret, and Michelle…) – which can mean periods of highER fat / lowER carb and lowER fat / highER carb


After all, high carb diets, the Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, and low fat diets have all been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease …


Providing that:


1) You ditch the excess fat (especially stomach fat)


2) You keep it off!


And in my opinion…


You probably need to get point ‘2’ right, first (I know it doesn’t make sense, but hear me out)


Because we can all lose weight (at least in the short term)


But keeping it off is a different story.


Work, babies (as I’ll soon be finding out about), stress…all get in the way.


It’s not easy.


I get it.


Which is exactly why finding the diet that fits in with your daily, busy routine, KEEPS YOU FULL and has you enjoying your  food again trumps a cookie-cutter, machine-gun approach to dieting and means you have the tools to keep the fat off once and for all


And breathe….


Best wishes,


Matt

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