MSN Health: Bad Foods for Cholesterol

“Saturated fat is the element of the modern diet that shows the most powerful association with high cholesterol and premature death from heart attacks,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. And, MSN offers up 5 Foods That Feed Cholesterol:

Whole-milk Dairy Products: Saturated fat, which clogs arteries and increases LDL levels, is the No. 1 cholesterol-boosting culprit.

Processed Meats: Bacon, sausage, liverwurst and the like are also wonderful sources of artery-clogging saturated fat.

Fast-Food Fries: The main source of trans fats are partially hydrogenated oils, and that’s exactly what most fast-food restaurants are still using to cook their fries.

Tropical Oils: Palm kernel and coconut oils are two of the fattiest of oils—100 percent of the bad-for-you saturated variety.

Baked Goods: All baked goods—even those that are homemade—are high in saturated fats, thanks to the butter and shortening.
No doubt, these are terrible foods. Here’s a montage of Dr. Fuhrman railing against them. Take a look:
Milk/Dairy Fat
Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases.

Bacon/Animal Fat
Today the link between animal products and many different diseases is as strongly supporting in the scientific literature as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

Fried Food
Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard it. Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil.

Cooking Oil
While hydrogenation does not make the fat completely saturated, it creates trans fatty acids, which act like saturated fats. Evidence is accumulating to implicate the harmful nature of these man-made fats in both cancer and heart disease.

Baked Goods
Baked goods, cold breakfast cereals, pretzels, and other snack foods, we are getting heart-disease-promoting trans fats and a high dose of acrylamides. Acrylamides are toxic, cancer-promoting compounds produced when foods are baked or fried at high temperatures.
Yeah, I think MSN is right on target with this list—don’t you agree?
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 (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Mathieu Langlois - March 31, 2008 2:03 PM

Hmmm... I always try to limit my consumption of coconut milk since it has saturated fat, but some epidemiological studies do not show any association between coconut saturated fat and heart disease.

What's Dr. Fuhrman take on these results?

Gerry Pugliese - March 31, 2008 2:15 PM

Hey Mathieu-

The whole saturated fat is actually good for us nonsense, is just that, nonsense.

Regarding coconut. Check out Dr. Fuhrman's comment to this post; Here's a bit of it:

"We should be eating food, (as nature intended) not oil (isolated fat). When we extract the oil from the whole food it was derived from we leave behind the lignin's, flavonoids, anti-oxidants, sterols, stanols and phytochemcials that make raw nuts and seeds so disease-protective. Raw nuts and seeds (not roasted peanut butter or coconut oil) have been linked in more than 100 scientific studies to lower risk of heart disease and lower risk of cancer. We don't even know the full symphony of natural substances that make natural foods so protective...

...All tropical oils (palm and coconut) are highly saturated fats. Like butter, cheese, and meat, tropical oils raise LDL cholesterol and clog arteries with plaque, increasing your risk of a heart attack. We use coconut oil (because it is so highly saturated) in animal experiments to create atherosclerotic plaque for studying heart disease in animals. There are different kinds of saturated fats with different impact on LDL cholesterol levels. One long-chain sat fat, stearic acid, has little impact on LDL cholesterol. But other long-chain saturated fatty acids, like the ones that make up most of the saturated fat in coconut and palm oils (known as tropical oils), do in fact raise LDL cholesterol considerably. These saturated fats are called palmitic, myristic, and lauric acids. They also make up most of the saturated fatty acids in meat, poultry, and dairy fats like milk and cheese. Other saturated fats that have little impact on LDL cholesterol levels include medium-chain varieties like caproic, caprylic, and capic acids. A small percentage of the saturated fat in coconut oil, about 10%, is made up of these less harmful saturated fatty acids, but virtually all the rest of coconut oil's saturated fat is made up of the long-chain varieties that raise LDL."

Hopefully that helps.


Llouise - April 1, 2008 10:22 AM

I just want to add that Dr.Fuhrman is not against fresh coconut :) He has written on the forum when asked that it's okay in small amounts. It's the canned coconut milk and oil he doesn't like.
So get to crackin' that nut :D

daniel turbeville - May 4, 2008 11:09 PM

Dear Dr. Fuhrman, you are the single professional in all my research who calls lauric a long chain fatty acid. The rest of the scientific community considers it a MCT. Would you be kind enough to explain your position.

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