If you have been paying attention, you are no doubt aware that saturated fats like butter or coconut oil are a dietary no-no. The theory is that these fats, which are solid at room temperature, can clog the arteries just as they might clog the inside of a water line. Although this idea seems intuitive, research does not support it.
What is the Consequence of Consuming Saturated Fats?
Q. I have been reading articles on saturated fats versus unsaturated fats. Guess what? I quit using vegetable and canola oil and started using butter, lard and coconut oil in my cooking.
After about six months of this, my blood work showed total cholesterol at 150. My LDL and HDL cholesterol were in good order and my triglycerides were better than they’ve ever been at 130.
I’ve had high triglycerides since I was a small child (due to thyroid disorder). I’ve never had numbers so good.
My HbA1c was also better at 6.2! Other than olive oil, I doubt I’ll be using unsaturated vegetable oils again.
The Paradox of Saturated Fats:
A. You probably realize that you are challenging 50 years of conventional medical advice to avoid saturated fat. You aren’t the only one who has started questioning traditional dietary recommendations, however.
Three prominent cardiologists authored an article titled “Saturated fat does not clog the arteries” (Malhotra et al, British Journal of Sports Medicine, online, April 25, 2017). They state,
“Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong.”
Instead, these heart doctors point to inflammation and insulin resistance as the bad actors in heart disease. Their recommendation: coronary artery disease can be reduced by “walking [at least] 22 minutes a day and eating real food.”
They are not the only heart experts to point out that a ban on saturated fats is too simplistic (DiNicolantionio et al, Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, March-April 2016). Replacing saturated fat calories with energy from sugar could increase the risk of heart disease instead of reducing it.
Your improved HbA1c, a measure of blood sugar over several weeks, may also indicate reduced insulin resistance. Resistance to insulin is a hallmark of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis suggests that including olive oil in your diet, as you plan to do, could help you keep your HbA1c under control (Schwingshackl et al, Nutrition & Diabetes, April 10, 2017).