Myth 1: Eating Ghee (or any fat) increases cholesterol, risk of heart disease, etc.
Myth 2: Saturated fat is heart-unhealthy
The data on this is so contradictory that it is a wonder it is accepted as truth. Yes, there is some data showing that saturated fat increases cholesterol levels. But there is a some data showing that it makes no difference at all, and actually has the same risks as excess refined carbohydrate intake.
Myth 3: Saturated fat is bad, so ghee and coconut oil must be bad.
Saturated fat can be short-chain, medium-chain, or long-chain fatty acids. Now, short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids are converted into energy much more quickly than longer chain animal derived saturated fats.
Ghee and coconut oil have significant amounts of short- and medium- chain fatty acids respectively.
Myth 4: Unsaturated oils are good for health. Safflower, Sunflower, Vegetable Oils, Canola, etc.
- 85% of the cholesterol in your body comes from … your body. Only 15% comes from your diet. So eat that egg, drink the full fat milk (if you can tolerate dairy). It is OK, in moderation.
- Low-fat diets do not reduce cholesterol: there is very little research to prove this and abundant research to disprove this. Replacing fat with sugar and refined carbs increases risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Saturated fats are not bad, in moderation.
- Remember, refined carbohydrates, not fats have a higher association with risk of cardiovascular disease (cholesterol, triglycerides, other indicators).
- Coconut oil is different from animal-derived saturated fats. Coconut oil is awesome. There is a ton of research chronicling the cardiovascular and other health benefits of coconut oil.
- Ghee is awesome too. High smoke point (can tolerate high temperatures), anti-carcinogenic, increases HDL, does not increase LDL, can soothe wounds, the list really goes on.
- Henry Blackburn, MD. Overview: The Seven Countries Study in Brief.
- Gary Taubes. Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health.
- Ravnskov, U. The questionable role of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular disease. J Clin Epidemiol. 1998;51(6):443-60.
- Sally Fallon. Nourishing Traditions.
- Low-fat dietary pattern and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial
- Andrea Garber, UCSF. Fad Diets: what really works for Weight Loss.
- Andrew Weil. Fat or Carbs, which is worse.
- Harvard School of Public Health. Fats and Cholesterol, Out with the bad, in with the good.
- Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91:535-46.
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- Astrup A, Dyerberg J, Elwood P, et al. The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: where does the evidence stand in 2010? Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93:684-8.
- Feranil AB, Duazo PL, Kuzawa CW, Adair LS. Coconut oil is associated with a beneficial lipid profile in pre-menopausal women in the Philippines. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011;20(2):190-5.
- Papamandjaris AA, MacDougal DE, Jones PJ. Medium chain fatty acid metabolism and energy expenditure: obesity treatment implications.Life Sci. 1998;62(14):1203-15.
- Kumar, PD. The role of coconut and coconut oil in coronary heart disease in Kerala, South India. Trop Doct. 1997 Oct;27(4):215-7.
- Gupta R, Prakash H. Association of dietary ghee intake with coronary heart disease and risk factor prevalence in rural males. J Indian Med Assoc. 1997 Mar;95(3):67-9, 83.
- Kumar MV, Sambaiah K, Lokesh BR. Effect of dietary ghee–the anhydrous milk fat, on blood and liver lipids in rats. J Nutr Biochem. 1999 Feb;10(2):96-104.