A well respected Danish researcher says that there is no link between a high fat diet, high cholesterol and heart attacks. Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, author of "Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You," said in a recent online interview with The Examiner, “High cholesterol is not a risk factor for women or old people. In fact, more than 20 studies have shown that old people with high cholesterol live the longest.”
Americans have been told for more than 40 years not to eat too much fat, particularly animal fats like the type one might find in a hamburger or pork chop. The widely accepted theory is that fats like these raise cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol was thought to lead a plaque buildup in one’s arteries which can lead to a heart attack. In contrast, Dr. Ravnskov points out, “The most effective way to raise cholesterol is stress. In half an hour acute stress is able to raise cholesterol by 30-40% and stress is also a risk factor and may indirectly be the cause.”
Dr. Ravnskov’s theories are supported by numerous other recent scientific studies including a meta-analysis funded by the National Institute of Health and released in 2010 which concluded, “There is insufficient evidence from prospective epidemiologic studies to conclude that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD (coronary heart disease), stroke, or CVD (cardiovascular disease).”
So are we now free to indulge in steaks, fries, burgers, and other fatty but delicious foods? Most scientists and nutritionists stipulate that it is not so much the amount of fat you intake daily but rather the type of fat. There is widespread agreement among experts in the field that fats from plants like olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil are healthy while man made or processed fats like margarine and vegetable shortening are not.
Some experts still claim that overindulgence in fats derived from animals (saturated fats) like beef and chicken can contribute to cardiovascular illness yet more and more healthy living advocates, including proponents of the much lauded Paleo Diet, are promoting the idea that animal fats are good for you as long as the animals are raised naturally without pesticides, hormones or antibiotics.
These studies indicate that the overall view of what foods are considered healthy and nutritious has changed considerably over the last several years. The more we learn, the more it seems that natural foods; those that have always been available to us, are the healthiest foods to eat.