Are you still avoiding cheese, eggs, milk, butter and grass-fed beef - stoically steering toward low-fat packaged foods and processed meats? It turns out you are not doing your heart, weight or cholesterol levels any favors after all.
Keep the Egg, Skip the Muffin
Shunning your morning eggs in favor of a large bagel with jam (refined carbohydrates) spikes blood sugar levels, is less satiating and can even raise triglyceride levels in your blood while lowering HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels. According to the Director of Cardiovascular Nutrition at Tufts University, high triglycerides and low HDL levels are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, which is linked to diabetes.
The results of a 2006 analysis involving nearly 350,000 people showed no evidence of a link between saturated fat and heart disease. The analysis comprised 21 studies by the Women’s Health Initiative. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found corroborating results.
As for perceived weight control, a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people on low-carbohydrate diets shed pounds faster and had lower total cholesterol than those on a low-fat diet, even though the low-carb group ingested relatively more saturated fat.
Keep It Real
What does this all mean for us health and fitness buffs who deplore deprivation? Moderate amounts of saturated fat can be an enjoyable part of your healthy food regimen. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 7% of your diet (about 16 grams for a typical 2,000 calorie per day maintenance level). If it comes from real food, such as unprocessed cheese or organic milk versus packaged pepperoni and Velveeta, you can probably enjoy a bit more.
What are your thoughts about these findings that debunk much of the “wisdom” we heard in the 1980’s and 1990’s? I don’t know about you, but I find these studies vindicating. I am glad to not feel guilty enjoying my beloved Half-and-Half in my morning coffee, my 2% milk fat Greek yogurt, or my weekend omelet with freshly-grated Pecorino cheese! For further reading on how to enjoy real food and stay slim, check out Mireille Guiliano’s website http://frenchwomendontgetfat.com
Guest Blogger and Fitness Enthusiast