Saturated Fat: Watch It!

Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of saturated fat. Just ask him. He’ll tell you firsthand. Saturated fat is bad news, and, the respected medical community agrees. From Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally:
There are literally hundreds of respected scientific studies that demonstrate that as animal products increase in a population's diet, cholesterol levels soar and the occurrence of heart disease increases proportionally with the increase in animal product intake.1 Saturated fat is the element of the modern diet that shows the most powerful association in these medical research studies with high cholesterol and premature death from heart attacks.2
Dr. Fuhrman also points out that saturated fats are a major contributor to cancer. He talks about it in Eat to Live, and, he lists the foods most packed with saturated fat. Take a look:
Some naturally occurring fats are called saturated fats because all the carbon are single bonds. These fats are solid at room temperature and are generally recognized as a significant cause of both heart disease and cancer. Saturated fats are found mainly in meat, fowl, eggs, and dairy. Coconut and palm oil are largely saturated and are also not desirable. The foods with the most saturated fat are butter, cream, and cheese.
Now, if all this isn’t daunting enough. New research claims that even a small splurge on saturated fat isn’t good for you—surprise-surprise. Kathleen Doheny of HealthDay News reports:
A recent study by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia found just that reaction after 14 trial participants, all healthy and between the ages of 18 and 40, ate just one piece of high-fat carrot cake and drank a milkshake.

That fat-laden feast compromised the ability of the participants' arteries to expand to increased blood flow, the researchers found. The sudden boost in what's known as saturated fat hampered the effects of so-called "good" cholesterol, the high-density lipoprotein or HDL, from doing its job -- to protect the inner lining of the arteries from inflammatory agents that promote the build-up of fatty plaques. It's this plaque that, over time, clogs blood vessels and causes heart disease.

"Saturated-fat meals might predispose to inflammation of, and plaque buildup in, the vessels," said study leader Dr. David Celermajer, Scandrett professor of cardiology at the Heart Research Institute and the Department of Cardiology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Celermajer's team had the volunteers eat two meals, spaced one month apart. Each meal consisted of a slice of carrot cake and a milkshake. But, in one case the foods were made with saturated fat, and in the other case the meal was made with polyunsaturated safflower oil, a much healthier choice.
Really makes you wonder how so many charlatans work up the gall to hock dangerous high-protein, high-saturated fat diets—shame on them! Dr. Fuhrman elaborates in the Short and Long-Term Dangers of High-Fat Diets:
These high-proteins strongly forbid refined carbohydrates, junk food, and the nutritionally depleted white pasta, white rice, and bread that most Americans consume in large quantities. That is the good part. They also frequently recommend that the dieter consume hundreds of dollars of nutritional supplements each month, Sure, the supplements are better than nothing on such an unbalanced diet, but they do not make it safe…

… High-fat diets are unquestionably associated with obesity, and eating meat actually correlates with weight gain, not weight loss, unless you radically cut carbs from your diet to maintain chronic ketosis.1 Researchers from the American Cancer Society followed 79,236 individuals over ten years and found that those ate meat more than three times per week were much more likely to gain weight as the years went by than those who tended to avoid meat.2 The more vegetables the participants ate, the more resistant they were to weight gain.
I guess as is the case with a lot of dietary woes, emotional attachments to food just keep sucking people in—boohoo, just put the burger down and get on with your life!
1. Menotti A, Kromhout D, Blackburn H, et al. Food intake patterns and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease: cross-cultural correlations in the Seven Countries Study. The Seven Countries Study Research Group. Eur J Epidemiol 1999 Jul;15(6):507-515.

2. Kromhout D, Menotti A, Bloemberg B, et al. Dietary saturated and trans fatty acids and cholesterol and 25-year mortality form coronary heart disease; the Seven Countries Study. Prev Med 1995;24(3):308-315. Oomen CM, Ocke MC, Feskens EJ, et al. Association between trans fatty acid intake and 10-year risk of coronary heart disease in the Zutphen Elderly study: a prospective population-based study. Lancet 2001;357(9258):746-751. Lemaitre RN, King IB, Raghunathan TE, et al. Cell membrane trans-fatty acids and the risk of primary cardiac arrest. Circulation 2002;105(6):697-701. Kromhout D. Diet and cardiovascular diseases J Nutr Health Aging 2001;5(3):144-149. Hu FB, Manson JE, Willett WC. Types of dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20(1):5-19. Lichtenstein AH, Van Horn L. Very low fat diets. Circulation 1998;98(9):935-939.
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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Aaron Ashmann - September 11, 2007 3:00 PM

Thought I would chime in here. I'm no fan of saturated fat, but I feel that once again people are misinterpreting the studies. As Dr. Fuhrman say's, its way more important to eat nutrient dense foods then to try to lower your saturated fat content to extremely low levels. Think about babies and breast milk- do you think that the over 50% saturated fat in it inflames babies blood vessels the whole time? Plus, studies have proven that the vasoconstriction of blood vessels does not occur when a person eats nutrient dense plant foods with the high fat meal- or even exercises. Peoples' body fat is a certain percentage of monos, polys, and saturates. Once you are at an optimal weight- you will need to get some saturates to keep that balanaced. Its also good to note however, that because most people are obese- theres no need for them to consume saturated fats when there body has ample supplies.

Michael - September 11, 2007 4:57 PM

It is impossible to eliminate saturated fat from the diet. All whole food has some fat and a portion of it is saturated. A growing baby has different needs than an adult.

Aaron Ashmann - September 12, 2007 4:49 PM

Of course a baby has different needs than an adult. I was just pondering if the saturated fat in breast milk was inflammatory to a babies arteries. More studies need to be done to determine the optimal ratio of fats for humans. For example- you can consume omega 3's in the form of fish oil- and it will lower your triglycerides, but was it worth the trade off for higher lipid peroxidation- maybe there is more oxidation in certain tissues but less dna damage?? Lipid analysis is really just getting under way.

BamaGal - September 25, 2007 3:58 PM

Excuse me---but did it ever occur to you people that it was the high carb content of these meals not the fat---sheesh--

carrot cake and a milkshake--how about comparing a carrot cake with a juicy saturated fat loaded rib eye steak---we'll see who wins in that go round

the inflammation study part was done outside the human body---who is to say what it would do in a real human

also this study was splashed about well over a year ago---it is just the mainstream media dragging it up again

to quote Mark Twain--
If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.

apparently the same goes for this site--

I'll stick with my wholesome nutritious high fat traditional eating---humans are omnivores we are not meant to function on veggies and grains

Scott - February 28, 2008 10:59 PM

The saturated fat in coconut milk/oil is nothing at all like full fat dairy or red meat. Take coconut oil for IE: comprised mostly of medium-chain fatty acids which are in no way bad for you. Can they be overdone? Sure, as can anything. That being said, I think Dr. Fuhrman's labeling saturated fats as "bad" is taking quite an alarmist point of view.

Matt R. - May 2, 2008 3:28 PM

This is absolute politically correct nonsense! Coconut oil/butter has anifungal properties, which are very beneficial to health, especially for fighting cancer. Overall, saturated fat is very stable fat and plays an important in our cell function. Fuhrman is flat out wrong on this! We've been eating saturated fat since the dawn of time. Trans fats are the problem here.

That study of 14 people is not something I would reference, as the high sugar content of both the cake and milk shake needs to be considered as well. How someone isolates saturated fat from that, I have no idea.

Matt R. - May 2, 2008 4:08 PM

This is from Dave on Jimmy Moore's forum:

"Let's apply the same analysis to saturated fat. Saturated fat is chemically pretty stable, and tends not to react with other things. Most notably it resists oxidation, and does not react with proteins as sugars do. As far as I've been able to determine, saturated fats don't really exert much effect on anything (e.g. hormones), beyond their role in cell membrane rigidity and permeability. Indeed, when your body stores fat, it prefers to store it as saturated fat, and thus that saturated fat is an important fuel between meals. It's very likely that the evolutionary choice to store and utilize energy in this form was made for a good reason, one which enhances the survival characteristics of the organism."

Looking further into this, it seems that Dr. Fuhrman was also the nutrition director of PCRM for five years, so it's no wonder he's going to rail against animal protein and saturated fat! I know Gerry wants to claim that this fact isn't related, but it is! That organization has come under more scrutiny for manipulating the truth in order to advance their agenda than most other nutritional organizations put together.

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