Obesity and Type 2 diabetes have become terrifyingly common and the number of people suffering from them has risen significantly over the last few years. Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lipid problems, inflammation and hypertension are all symptoms of what is known as the metabolic syndrome.
Shorter Life Span, Increased Cost of Healthcare
According to OECD:
"Mortality increases steeply once individuals cross the overweight threshold. The lifespan of an obese person is up to 8-10 years shorter (for a BMI of 40-45) than that of a normal-weight person, mirroring the loss of life expectancy suffered by smokers. An overweight person of average height will increase their risk of death by approximately 30% for every 15 additional kilograms of weight."
The obesity epidemic started with the introduction of HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) and has accelerated since the 1980's as a result of wrong dietary guidelines: Cut down on saturated fat, eat more carbohydrates.
Another wrong advice we've been given was to substitute saturated fat for polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) without any further clarification. The advice has lead to an increased intake of omega 6 fatty acids such as vegetable oils and margarines, because these are the dominating PUFA-containing foods on the market. Unfortunately, a high ratio omega 6/omega 3 PUFA in the diet is associated with many serious health problems. The advice should rather have been to increase the intake of omega 3s, monounsaturated fat and not to be afraid of eating saturated fat.
Apart from increased mortality, this has lead to increased cost of healthcare. According to Forbes.com:
"In an economic context, the burden of obesity to the U.S. health care system and U.S. taxpayers is at crisis levels and will only increase. Extra medical care for obesity comprises from 5 to 10% of total U.S. health care costs, half of which Medicare and Medicaid finances."
One of the foods that have gained a bad reputation for the content of saturated fat, nitrates and sodium is bacon. But is it really unhealthy? Check out my post to find out more: 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Fear Bacon.
The Truth about Saturated Fat and Cholesterol: Not All Cholesterol is Created Equal
How come many health professionals are still convinced fat is bad for our health? As it's often the case, it's a combination of many factors such as:
- strong financial interests that want us to keep eating low-fat, high-carb products, using statins, etc.
- unwillingness to admit that the advice given was wrong
So, why are the dietary guidelines still giving us the wrong message? Because they want to give food and pharmaceutical industries time to adapt - they simply care more about profits than our health. To understand how financial interests affect the general advice, I suggest you watch these recent Australian documentaries: Heart of the Matter Part 1 - Dietary Villains and Heart of the Matter Part 2 - Cholesterol Drug War.
Contrary to what we have been advised over the last 50 years, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by eating saturated and monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids (mostly from animal sources). This way you can raise your HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol), lower your triglycerides and reduce levels of small particle LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol). Not all LDL is bad, it's the small, dense LDL cholesterol that is associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
Dr. Tara Dall also explains which type of cholesterol is actually harmful in this short video: Specialty Health - Dr. Tara Dall - It's not the passengers, it's the cars.
In the following video presentation of a lecture from 24th January 2013 (The cholesterol campaign and its misleading dietary advices), a Danish doctor and researcher Uffe Ravnskov explained the problem with the cholesterol campaign and its negative effects on our health over the last few decades. Dr Ravnskov reveals the most shocking truth about cholesterol, fat and the obesity epidemic. According to recent studies:
There is NO evidence that:
- too much saturated fat raises cholesterol
- saturated fat causes heart disease
- high cholesterol causes heart disease
- lowering cholesterol reduces heart disease
- there is a correlation between obesity rates and the amount of fat consumption
- there is a correlation between obesity rates and the amount of protein consumption
And there IS evidence that:
- there is a correlation between obesity rates and the amount of carbohydrate consumption
- the obesity and diabetes epidemics are a direct result of the misleading cholesterol campaign.
Studies show that:
- Replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates, which has been recommended by medical authorities all over the world for the last 50 years, increases the risk of coronary heart disease (lowers HDL, increases small particle LDL). In other words, it's not saturated fat or cholesterol that increases the amount "bad" cholesterol (small, dense LDL). It's the overconsumption of carbohydrates.
- Dietary cholesterol has very little impact on total blood LDL cholesterol levels
- In fact, dietary cholesterol is beneficial for our health (it lowers small particle LDL cholesterol)
Inflammation is the Real Cause of Heart Disease
It's not only what Dr Ravnskov is claiming, there are many other scientists and health professionals warning against the real cause of heart disease and obesity.
Dr. Dwight Lundell, a cardiologist, has discussed the real cause of heart disease here: Heart surgeon speaks out on what really causes heart disease.
Aseem Malhotra, also a cardiologist published his vindication of saturated fat in the BMJ, a highly respected medical journal: Saturated fat is not the major issue.
There are several ways you can naturally reduce inflammation in your body. In general, you should cut down on sugar and processed carbs and include healthy fats in your diet (omega 3 fatty acids, monounsaturated and saturated fat), avoid processed foods high in additives - eat REAL food, make sure you get enough sleep and include some moderate exercise. Although low-moderate intensity cardio is not effective for fat loss, it has been shown to have great health benefits, especially for your brain and heart.
Don't be fooled, don't trust "low-fat", "low-calorie" or even "low-carb" labels on food - avoid processed foods at all cost. Not only these products will make you feel more hungry, they are often loaded with unwanted carbs, artificial additives or preservatives. Learn to eat REAL food!