We have all probably heard that eating too much fat, especially saturated fat, will lead to heart disease. For years, fats have been the evil villain! “Eat fat and you’ll get fat!” Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

The Story of Fat

Back in the 1950s, a scientist by the name of Ancel Keys began working on a study that would link diet and lifestyle to coronary heart disease and stroke. Through his research, he claimed that dietary fat was responsible for increasing cholesterol and as a result, led to heart disease. His initial hypothesis focused on dietary fat; but, gradually he began to only focus on saturated fats as the culprit of heart disease. Keys eventually published his Seven Countries Study and this was the beginning of the Anti-Fat Era.

It did not take long before the AHA (American Heart Association) embraced Keys’ hypothesis and began warning people that food containing saturated fats such as eggs, meat and butter were to blame for heart disease. Despite having several researchers and scientists pointing out flaws in Keys’ research and stating that saturated fat was not the problem, it appears to be ingrained in the hearts and minds of the general public.

What Does The Science Say?

Fat is an essential component to our cells.

Recently, research has started to emerge that fat is not as bad as people say it is. In fact, one recent meta-analysis from the Annals of Internal Medicine examined over 30 studies and found that “current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats”1.

In another meta-analysis from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers looked at over 20 studies and concluded that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD”2.

What You Should Know

Emerging research indicated that sugars and carbohydrates are the real issue. One study from the Journal of American Medicine Internal Medicine reported that higher sugar consumption resulted in a four-fold increase in heart attacks when compared to those who consumed lower amounts of sugar3.

Regardless as to what diet one may choose, making sure you are educated and understand why the diet may be a good fit for you is the key to any successful dietary change. For my clients who come to me looking for help and answers, the first thing we do is discuss food sensitivity testing. By determining what food(s) a person reacts to that cause inflammation is one key to making effective dietary changes with lasting results.

About The Author

Dr. James is a chiropractic physician focusing on functional medicine and nutrition. He began his career as a licensed Illinois Paramedic before continuing his education and earning his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree. After graduation, Dr. James entered into private practice in Northeast Ohio exclusively treating personal injury patients. During this time, Dr. James began working on his Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Human Performance, as he saw a need for educating the community on nutrition. He returned to Illinois in the summer of 2016 and began working on his first book. “Empower Yourself: Live Better with Optimal Nutrition” was released in the Fall of 2016. Currently, Dr. James runs an online practice and sees clients from across the country. When he isn’t busy seeing clients, Dr. James enjoys writing, attending concerts and finding new ways to groom and style his beard. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.