Let’s talk fat. Specifically, saturated fat. If you’ve banished red meats and egg yolks from your diet for health reasons, there’s reason to rejoice. “I think the notion that saturated fat and cholesterol are the demons in the diet is 100 percent wrong,” says Dr. Jonny Bowden PhD, CNS, a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. “When you look at the data, it’s very clear: Most of what we’ve been told about saturated fat and cholesterol is simply not so.”
Bowden, a board-certified nutritionist and author of 14 books including The Great Cholesterol Myth co-authored with cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, explains that, “I’m out to rehabilitate the reputation of saturated fat, a perfectly healthy fat that we collectively demonized when we wrongly believed it lead to heart disease.
Recent research has shown that there’s no connection between saturated fat in the diet and the incidence of heart disease. Instead of saturated fat and cholesterol, most leading edge experts are now looking at inflammation as a prime mover in the development of heart disease.
“The irony is that the foods we were taught are good for us – breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes – are the very ones that are killing us. Our bodies convert these foods to sugar almost instantly. Sugar raises insulin, which causes inflammation, which is the fundamental cause of heart disease.”
Foods containing saturated fat that are okay to eat
- Butter: “Butter was never bad to begin with! It was banished from our tables because of our ill-advised fear of saturated fats. So we replaced it with something much worse!”
- Grass-fed beef: “Grass-fed beef contains anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and less inflammatory omega-6s. It’s also free of hormones, a very big plus indeed.”
- Tropical oils: “When we reduced our intake of saturated fat, and replaced it with vegetable oils (corn, soy, canola, etc.), the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in our diets became wildly out of balance. Omega 6s are the building blocks of inflammatory chemicals in our bodies, and we are consuming 6-25 times more of them than we are the anti-inflammatory omega-3s. We should substitute Malaysian palm fruit oil for some of that inflammatory omega 6, which will help right the balance. Malaysian palm fruit oil won’t cause inflammation. It also won’t break down into toxic substances when you cook with it.”
- Egg yolks: “What a relief that you don’t have to suffer through one more tasteless egg white omelet! The advice to eat egg white omelets is way past its expiration date!”
- Dark meat poultry: “The USDA data shows that there are mere milligrams of differences in the nutritional content of white and dark meat. Just be cautious of the skin, which is calorically dense.”
- Cheese and nuts: “One ounce a day is associated with lower body mass index, so these are absolutely healthy. But they are also easy to overeat and contribute to weight gain, so just be careful about the amount you consume.”
Although experts estimate that we’re consuming fewer calories from fat, here in the U.S., obesity has skyrocketed. One reason: the food industry replaced saturated fat with added sugar in an attempt to maintain foods’ appeal.
We all need fat in our diets. Bowden adds that, “People who follow low-fat diets are hungry all the time because fat is one of the main things that makes you feel full. Also, if your body learns to run primarily on sugar instead of fat, your metabolism is compromised. Sugar is far more damaging to the heart than fat ever was. The world’s focus on cholesterol has been incredibly destructive because we haven’t looked at these real promoters of heart disease: inflammation, oxidative damage, sugar in the diet and – number one with a bullet – stress.”
For additional information about cholesterol and the nutritional value of healthy oils, visit www.palmoilhealth.org .
Biography: Jonny Bowden, PhD, CND
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, (aka “The Rogue Nutritionist”) is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He is a board-certified nutritionist with a master’s degree in psychology and the best-selling author of 14 books on health, healing, food and longevity, including three best-sellers, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth”, the award-winning “Living Low Carb” and his latest book, co-written with cardiologist Stephen Sinatra and featured on the Dr. Oz Show, “The Great Cholesterol Myth”. A frequent guest on television and radio, he has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS as an expert on nutrition, weight loss, and longevity.
He is a past member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Men’s Health magazine, is the Nutrition Editor for Pilates Style, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post as well as Clean Eating Magazine, Better Nutrition, Amazing Wellness, WellaBella and Total Health Magazine Online. Dr. Bowden has a Master’s Degree in psychology and a PhD in nutrition, and has earned six national certifications in personal training and exercise. He is board certified by the American College of Nutrition, a member of the prestigious American Society for Nutrition, and a much in-demand speaker at conferences and events across the country.