For years it has been proclaimed that saturated fat is bad for you and causes all sorts of problems within the body. There is a huge amount of controversy on this subject and whether the studies that have been conducted are actually conclusive and correct as to the effects of saturated fat on the heart.
Let’s look at a few of the reasons that many people feel that these studies may be inaccurate in reference to the effects of saturated fat on heart disease.
It has been reported through the findings of these studies that if you consume a diet made up primarily of whole milk and red meat, both of which are high in with over half of that being saturated, that it will lead to serious problems with the heart. Now let’s look into the past.
Sometime in the 1960’s studies were performed based on the health of the Nomad Indian tribe of the Masai which were local to the areas of Kenya and Tanzania. These Indians consumed a diet made up of large amounts of whole milk and red meat in addition to the blood from cattle. The results indicated that even as a result of a diet such as this these Indians were very lean in appearance and even had some of the lowest cholesterol levels that have ever been reported and were almost completely heart disease free.
Effects of saturated fat on health
At first scientists who were confused concerning these results proposed the theory that these individuals must be predisposed with unique genetic factors that protect against raised cholesterol levels. This theory was subsequently shot down when another study of these same Indian tribes was conducted when more modern diets were consumed and their cholesterol levels had shot through the roof.
In addition to the Masai Indians, similar studies have been conducted on other tribes such as the Samburu off Kenya and the Fulani of Nigeria with almost identical results.
The truth of the matter is that what we know as the ‘fact’ that heart disease is a direct result of excessive saturated fat is actually much less fact and much more a theory formed based on inconclusive studies performed in the 1950’s. This theory has been classified as inconclusive because they have never been effectively and factually proven.
The first published report against saturated fat was in 1953 which stated that saturated fat causes the accumulation of plaque in the arteries leading to the arteries becoming clogged and resulting in heart disease. These finding were based on studies conducted in the countries of the United States, England, Japan, Canada, Australia and Italy.
According to this study Americans consumed the highest amount and fat and experienced the highest death rates from heart disease while Japan was at the lowest end of these findings and all the other countries came somewhere in the middle of the two. For this reason it was concluded that the more fat that is consumed the higher the chance of high cholesterol and high disease and reducing these amounts would lower this risk. What this study failed to do however was to effectively prove this theory.