Another study looked at all of the studies that have been done and concluded that the commonly held belief that the best diet for the prevention of coronary heart disease is a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet is not supported by the evidence from clinical trials. Paper in the British Medical Journal: “Saturated Fat’s Role in Heart Disease is a Myth”. Another paper shows that the more saturated fat you take in, the less heart disease there is. French Paradox: consuming lots of fatty foods, high cholesterol levels but low incidence of heart disease. Usual explanation is the resveratrol in red wine. A lot of deaths in France are not recorded the same way as here. Some sudden deaths should be attributed to heart disease but are not, so even the existence of the paradox is questionable. In another study, consuming poly unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats reduced the incidence of heart disease. Do polyunsaturated fats have some sort of health benefit? Maybe. Some reduce inflammation. Sydney Study: looked at linoleic acid, a classic polyunsaturated fat (in corn oil, safflower, sunflower oil). The more that this polyunsaturated fat was consumed, the greater the risk for heart disease. Their explanation is that the linoleic acid can stimulate inflammation. This means that replacing saturated with polyunsaturated fats is not always clear cut. Depends on the types, which gets complicated. Maybe we should instead be looking at the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats consumed. Omega-3 eggs: not the same kind of omega-3 fats as in fish. This is called alpha-linolenic acid which in the body is converted to the fish oil (small proportion though) or the docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. Omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is important. Flaxseed has a good ratio, as does walnut oil. Canola oil is a good one to cook with. Are there any special foods to lower cholesterol? o Nuts: paper in the New England Journal of Medicine with data from 86,000 nurses in 1976. Those who ate nuts had a lower incidence of heart disease. o Last November in the same journal another study on nuts. In two large independent cohorts of nurses and other health professionals, the frequency of nut consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality. o Some margarines are fortified with substances to lower cholesterol like sitostenol. Need to eat a lot to have an effect on heart disease rates. o Eating 25g of soy protein a day will lower cholesterol, but there are issues with soy. It contains a lot of isoflavones, which have estrogenic properties. o Oat bran (the outer covering of the oat kernel). Contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber. Shown to lower cholesterol. Must eat about 3g/day, which is 1.5 cups of oatmeal or 1 cup of cooked oat bran or 5 servings of cheerios.
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