With low fat products on every supermarket shelf and advertised on TV it seems clear that saturated fat, like smoking, is bad for your heart health. Or is it?
Coronary artery disease is caused by the build up of a substance called atheroma within the blood vessel. Just like when your drains get blocked and the sink drains slowly, arteries can become narrowed by atheroma leading to angina (as blood takes longer to get where it’s needed) and if a complete blockage occurs, a heart attack occurs.
We have long believed that atheroma is caused by the build up of bad cholesterol in the artery. As saturated fat is high in cholesterol one would assume therefore that excessive consumption is a possible cause of heart disease. There is actually scant evidence linking saturated fat intake and coronary artery disease. The bad cholesterol circulating in your body can be influenced to a degree by your diet. However, circulating bad cholesterol is mainly dictated by your genetic make up. I don’t agree with cutting out high saturated foods from the diet completely – I simply suggest moderation of intake. As foods high in saturated fat are very energy dense, excessive consumption can lead to weight gain which brings with it a whole host of problems.