I read an article this week that fitness expert and well-known blogger, Fred Hahn had referenced, which talked about clogged arteries in the heart and how they increase ones risk to heart attack, stroke and death, stating, “Plaque that accumulates on the inner walls of your arteries is made from various substances that circulate in your blood. These include calcium, fat, [and] cholesterol…” it goes on to say that everyone should consume a low-fat diet to be healthy and avoid clogged arteries.
Frankly, I was surprised that it didn’t tell us to ‘eat whole grains’ to stay healthy. I was quite relieved that it didn’t push grains at all, still I had a problem with the low-fat advise.
Fred Hahn jokingly suggested if they want us to give up cholesterol and fat, why not calcium as well. While I’m sure he will agree giving up leafy-greens is not really a healthful option, he makes a valid point. If doctors are going to make such a big deal about fat and cholesterol, why hasn’t anyone discussed the presence and affects that calcium has on our arteries? Would anyone really stop eating their greens. Of course not. And we shouldn’t stop eating fats and cholesterol either.
Hahn says, “The food you eat doesn’t make a bee-line to your arteries. Inflamed and damaged arteries attempt to repair themselves using fat, cholesterol and calcium. The problem is the inflammation/damage – not the substances your body uses to heal itself! It’s like saying fireman are the cause of fires since every time you see a fire you see firemen.” Makes sense to me.
Top health expert, Dr. Mercola says the best source of calcium is from whole foods, but calcium supplements increase your heart attack risk by 30%. He also agrees that many so-called experts have it all wrong when it comes to saturated fat and cholesterol. Dr. Mercola believes, saturated fat is healthy and lists a few benefits including being a preferred fuel for your heart, a source of energy, an antiviral agent (caprylic acid), and is useful in lowering cholesterol levels and preventing cancer (butyric acid). The fats that we should avoid are the not-so healthy versions of butter like margarine and spreads which have the same amounts of fats and calories, but are actually unhealthy trans-fats.
Saturated fats like red meat is a great source of protein as well as amino acids like L-Carnitine, which increases endurance. L-Carnitine’s main function is the metabolism of fats. It has also been found to slow Alzheimer’s. Milk, which also contains saturated fat, can be quite beneficial if consumed raw, for the immune system. Cheese contains high-levels of Vitamin K.
While I will not argue with the fact that clogged arteries are unhealthy, like Mercola and Hahn, I do not believe that limiting fat and cholesterol is the healthier way to take care of our arteries.I do believe we should be consuming much more Vitamin D than calcium, more saturated fat like butter, avocados and coconut oil, and much less sugars and grains–many should cut grains and especially sugars all together. Sugar–not fat–is the main problem and has been linked to a fatty liver, to obesity, heart disease and cancer. Sugar is the drug we should be eliminating, not fat and cholesterol if we want to take care of our arteries, and so much more.