My take on AHA’s recommended “healthy” fats…

Recently the American Heart Association released it’s updated recommendations for keeping your heart healthy.  Part of the new release reviewed eating habits and more specifically recommended oils to use in a daily diet to prevent cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.  I had to chime in when I reviewed their findings.  As a nutrition guru, several red flags popped up:

  1. Heart disease is a complicated illness.  Inflammation in the body causes increases in cholesterol and other complications leading to the disease.  Genetics play a role as well.  Diet can help reduce inflammation, but it is not the overall solution or culprit.  Read more about it here.
  2. Saturated Fats are not all equal.  The new recommendations vilify Coconut Oil but fail to tout the benefits of this saturated fat in comparison with other saturated fats.  Let’s dive deeper.  Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid.  It is also a saturated fat.  What does that mean, in a nut shell, your body processes it differently.  Coconut oil has proven to raise both HDL and LDL levels in the body.  Thus keeping the ratio of good to poor cholesterol the same.  Lab studies also prove it is less likely to be stored as fatty acids in the body, thus aiding in weight reduction.  Coconut oil contains high amounts of lauric acid, boosting antibacterial properties to aid your immune system.  It helps regulate blood sugar levels and helps your body build strong teeth and bones.
  3. The list of approved oils the AHA are questionable.  They recommend Canola oil, vegetable oil, olive oil and others.  I agree with the Olive Oil, it is a wonderful oil to use in dressings and low heat cooking.  The others use sparingly because they are cheap and used widely in commercially processed foods, restaurant foods, and are most likely from sources of GMO foods.  In other words, we get too much of them already in our diets, so be aware.  It does make you wonder what big industries have an financial influence on the American Heart Association.

When it comes down to it, our bodies are all different.  We have to be our own advocates for our individual health because of these differences.  Do some research into the saturated fats, look deeper than Google and decide for yourself.  I am here to help at eatlivefit.net.