For years, we have been told that to lower one’s risk of heart disease, we need to:
a. lower our LDL ( the so called “bad cholesterol”) by decreasing the consumption of cholesterol rich foods (i.e. meats)
b. lower our intake of saturated fats by consuming less cheeses, meats and butter.
c. increase our intake of polyunsaturated vegetable oils (corn, soybean, peanut)
d. increase consumption of carbohydrates
Why? Because the “experts” said that cholesterol rich foods and saturated fats increases our blood cholesterol which can then somehow “clog” our arteries.
However, the so called experts have it wrong.
An editorial from the Open Heart Journal highlights why the current dietary guidelines for preventing heart disease need to be rewritten.
The potential harm with replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates includes:
a.Increase of triglycerides–> This is because high dietary carbohydrate intake increases the livers production of VLDL which carries triglycerides. Under a high carbohydrate intake, the subsequent high triglyceride levels will be transferred to HDL particles and LDL particles as described below.
b.Decrease of HDL cholesterol–> This is because the VLDL carrying the triglycerides dumps it’s triglycerides to the HDL particles in the blood stream. This eventually decreases the levels of HDL particles and the cholesterol in the HDL particles.
c.Increase in small dense LDL particles–> This is because the VLDL carrying the triglycerides crashes in with the LDL particles floating in the blood and transfers its trigycerides. This transforms the LDL particles to acquire a small dense LDL paticles
You might be wondering what are the particles referring to? In order for fat (cholesterol, triglycerides) to be transported in the blood, it is carried inside a protein particle. Of all types of protein particles (HDL, LDL, VLDL), the protein particle that has the most potential to lodge in blood vessels and elicit inflammation in the blood vessels is small dense LDL.
With respect to replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, this had had the potential harm of:
b. Oxidizing LDL –> Polyunsaturated fats are more prone to oxidation which can then oxidize LDL and allow it to inflame arteries resulting in heart disease.