What is the cause of heart disease? For the past decades the dogma has been that saturated fat and cholesterol are the culprits. But a growing number realize that this outdated idea has been a mistake.
Yesterday Australia’s foremost science television show, Catalyst, broadcasted an episode on the subject (video clip above). There are many physicians and experts interviewed in the show, and the majority believes that the over-simplified cholesterol theory is simply wrong.
The real cause of heart disease? Inflammation in the artery walls. This may have many causes, but the amount of saturated fat you consume is not one of them. Here are some more probable contributing factors:
- stress on the artery wall due to high blood pressure
- high blood sugar levels that damage the cells inside the artery
- small, dense, oxidized LDL particles that may irritate the artery wall and/or get in between the cells in the wall
- smoking, which introduces substances to the blood that irritates the arteries
The three first factors are exacerbated by too much sugar and starch in the diet.
In addition to the above: stress. Stress exacerbates all the problems mentioned above – it raises blood pressure, increases blood sugar, worsens blood lipid profile and increases the tendency to adopt bad habits, such as smoking.
Not on the list: butter. Switching to polyunsaturated omega-6-fats won’t be protective either – according to new findings this may even be harmful!
It’s time for more brave experts to stand up and say “I was wrong, you were right”.
So how do you really prevent heart disease? Here’s my best advice:
How to Prevent Heart Disease
- less sugar (soda, fruit juice, candy)
- less refined starch (like bread, pasta, junk food)
- no smoking
- physical activity in moderation
- manage stress and get enough sleep
- eat real food