Friday, July 27, 2012

Why the Mediterranean Lifestyle is Overrated

I just returned from a month-long trip to Italy. I’m here to report back that the Mediterranean lifestyle is nowhere as healthy as people say it is.

Many Europeans still chain-smoke cigarettes, sometimes desperate enough to light up in train cars, even though it’s forbidden. Breakfast might as well be an IV-injection of sugar: a piece of cake or croissant or white bread with jam, a coffee or two—the norm is cappuccino or espresso--with a pack or two of white sugar, and of course, a cigarette or two.

When I coach people on what to eat for breakfast, I advise eating 10 grams of protein by 10 a.m. to get the metabolism fired up. I also suggest eating some natural fat, such as avocado in an omelet, to feel full longer and have steady-burning energy for at least three to four hours.

Italian breakfasts certainly don’t provide steady energy for a substantial time; breakfast is a heart defibrillator, meant to shock you back to life after begrudgingly getting out of bed and struggling to face the day’s bleak prospects like either having to go to a job you don’t want to go to, or, because of the dire state of the Italian economy, having no job. (Yet somehow, Italians, even those with weak or no job prospects are still are willing to spend a euro a pop on 27 espressos a day!)

After eating a typical continental breakfast, two hours later, I would feel hungry and mentally fuzzy, or fuzzier, than I normally do anyway.

Italians need to sip at least a few espressos (they are tiny portions) to keep their systems running until lunch. Here in the U.S., those in natural wellness are taught, and teach, that a high amount of caffeine consumption drains the adrenal glands and could thus lead to multi-systemic problems (not burning body fat as efficiently, for example).

Do the Italians, by and large, suffer from adrenal exhaustion? The way they vociferously and dramatically communicate with each other, you’d think they have plenty of adrenaline surging through their system. Could it be a case of being exhausted on the inside while appearing energetic?
Whether or not Italians drain their ever-so-important adrenal glands, I can’t say for sure. But I’m banking that several espressos a day isn’t the healthiest thing.

Now it’s time for the carb heavy lunch. Yes, most Italians do eat pasta every day, often twice a day. In the U.S. we’ve been told by every diet guru and health coach (me included) to stay away from starchy carbs as much as possible to keep the belly flat.

Many Italian shopkeepers (how nice it was to not see any chain stores for a month) close down from 1 until 4 in the afternoon. No wonder they need to take such a long reposo with all those carbs and oils digesting.

Dinner is roughly the same as lunch, yet drawn out for an even longer period of time than lunch. This allows for the healthy European lifestyle of smoking more cigarettes and drinking more wine.
Of course the Italian experience is healthy in many ways: dining with close friends and family most likely lowers blood pressure and wards off depression. Taking time to appreciate the important things in life (again, food, family and friends), economic downturn be damned.

The quality of the food, overall is much better in Italy (though I did manage to pick a restaurant that had the worst spaghetti in all of Italy, it was way overcooked and stuck together). Tomatoes aren’t grown by agricultural monolithic corporations. Here in the U.S., we are victim to having to purchase tomatoes that are genetically-engineered to look pretty but completely devoid in taste.

Even though I ate pasta and pizza and gelato every day (When in Rome), I didn’t gain weight. I walked several miles nearly every day. Besides the obvious factor of burning calories for my lack of weight gain, there’s something about Italian food that didn’t trigger allergic symptoms I often get when eating pizza and pasta back in the U.S.

Maybe it’s the quality of the wheat or difference in the gluten or flour. Not once did I get congested or watery, itchy eyes after eating in Italy. Perhaps the amazing quality of the olive oils and Balsamic vinegar helps to burn up the pasta and coat and expedite the digestive system.

I didn’t have amazing food every day in Italy; many meals consisted of bowling-alley quality pizza. Yet I never felt any food allergy symptoms. Even average Italian food lacks the contaminants, pesticides, GMO’s (genetically modified foods) and additives that U.S. food is riddled with. (The exception in Italy: supermarket salami and cured meats often contain nitrates and/or nitrites; buying from a local specialty meat shop is better.)

I don’t think Italians are vastly healthier than Americans. It’s just that far too many Americans are so ill and dis-eased from eating junk food and not walking more than 10 steps to the bathroom all day. All Italians seem as healthy as Dr. Oz by comparison.

It was rare to see a significantly overweight Italian. Hopefully one day, it will also be rare to find an Italian smoker.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Are Saturated Fats Bad For You?

Are saturated fats bad for you? Many doctors, nutritionists, weight-loss coaches, pharmaceutical companies, TV commercials and government sources advocate that saturated fats lead to chronic disease and early death.

But whale-blubber-loving Eskimos eat a diet comprised of 75 percent saturated fat. The Maasai in Kenya eat beef, drink cattle blood and lots of milk; two-thirds of this tribe’s traditional diet comes from saturated fat.

Neither the Inuit Eskimos nor the Maasai have developed heart disease or any other chronic health problems (as long as they don’t start eating Western-style junk food).

Yet, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines  recommend that the average U.S. adult consume no more than 10 percent of total calories in the form of saturated fat.

That amounts to, on average, 20 grams per day.

The American Heart Association recommends even less saturated fat: a total of seven percent of total calories. (Don’t think the AHA is serious about cutting out saturated fat? Check out their animated feature on their website.)

Why do some experts say “saturated fat is bad” if other societies thrive on it?
In the late 1950’s, the University of Minnesota’s Ancel Keys and other researchers conducted the so-called ‘Seven Countries’ study, which concluded that high levels of saturated fatty acids predicted higher rates of coronary heart disease.

It would seem that a half-century later, Keys’ study has left an indelible impression on modern medicine.

Critics of the study, including Dr. Neil W. Hirschenbein, of the La Jolla Institute of Comprehensive Medicine, allege that Keys’ study ignored data from 20 other countries that showed no correlation between saturated fat intake and heart disease.

“There is politics in everything, including medicine. When you’ve been teaching something for over 50 years, it’s hard to go back and say you’ve made a mistake,” Dr. Hirschenbein tells Mother Nature Network.

Hirschenbein adds, “A lot of the studies that comes out linking saturated fat to heart disease doesn’t control for the quality of saturated fat or important lifestyle factors. There is no distinction in the studies, for example, between very healthy, 100-percent grass-fed beef versus meat that is raised in ways we shouldn’t be eating that make the cows as fat as possible as quickly as possible, force-feeding them grains, and pumping the U.S. population with way too many inflammatory-inducing Omega-6 fatty acids (which is an unsaturated fat).”

Are there any medical studies that prove saturated fat doesn’t lead to heart disease?
An editorial, titled, “Saturated fat prevents coronary artery disease? An American paradox,” published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concludes: “…a high-fat, high–saturated fat diet is associated with diminished coronary artery disease progression in women with the metabolic syndrome.”

One study of 347,747 subjects, also published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluded, “Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD (coronary heart disease), stroke, or cardiovascular disease (CVD).”

“The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent,” says Hirschenbein.

What about LDLs, the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol. Doesn’t saturated fat raise LDL levels?

If so, Demetra Vagias, M.D., and a practicing Naturopathic Doctor, believes this is a good thing.

“HDL brings cholesterol back to the liver for recycling; LDL brings cholesterol back to the circulation for repairing tissues, so if LDL is up temporary in one of my patients, I tell them that they are in a healing mode,” says Vagias, who counsels her patients to eat a diet rich in saturated fat, especially raw dairy sources.

What are the benefits of saturated fats?
Among other benefits, saturated fats play a vital role in:

·         forming cell membrane walls
·         initiating the building blocks of hormones
·         carrying fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K)
·         converting carotene to Vitamin A
·         absorbing trace minerals

Should I go on an all bacon cheeseburger diet if saturated fats are not bad?
Not quite. But meat, dairy product and fat-lovers in general can take solace in a study of approximately 100,000 female nurses that observed no association between meat, dairy products, cholesterol, or fat intakes and the risk of pancreatic cancer; though the study does note that cooking methods and processed meats may be a contributor to pancreatic cancer.

Even Harvard’s School of Public Health now acknowledges that saturated fat isn’t the evil nutrient other sources claim it is. But the school does recommend “…cut[ting] back on red meat and dairy products, [and] replac[ing] them with foods that contain healthy fats—fatty fish like salmon, nuts and seeds, plant oils, avocadoes—not with foods that are high in refined carbohydrates.”

Strawberry Nutrition Facts

Like strawberries? If you’re like the average consumer of this fruit — which is actually a member of the rose family — you consume about 5 pounds of strawberries each year.
How are strawberries, which are second only to apples in fresh-fruit popularity, doing your body good? Let’s review some strawberry nutrition facts.
Most strawberry lovers know that a serving contains a lot of vitamin C. In fact, one cup of strawberries (about eight medium-sized berries) yields 150 percent daily value (DV) of vitamin C. Talk about nutrient density! That’s a lot of vitamin C for only 50 calories.
Strawberries are also relatively high in fiber. One cup provides 3 grams, or 12 percent DV.
Some stick-figure-worshipping, conscientious dieters might pass up a handful of strawberries because a single serving contains 12 grams of sugar. But when you factor in the fiber, strawberries have a low glycemic load; they will likely not make your blood sugar levels spike and then subsequently crash.
Just take it easy on the whipped cream if you’re empty calorie-conscious. (Plain strawberries are virtually fat-free.)
Strawberries: Good for your bones and hormones
If you’re concerned about bone health, strawberries are an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, which is essential for maintaining healthy bone structure, absorbing calcium, creating enzymes that build bone and a host of other benefits, including proper functioning of your sex hormones.
David Handley, small fruit specialist at the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension, says potassium and folate are also highly beneficial nutrients derived from strawberry consumption.
“Seniors and the elderly population sometimes have trouble getting enough potassium and folate, which [also] helps form bone mass,” Handley tells Mother Nature Network.
One cup of strawberries has 240 milligrams of potassium (7 percent DV) and 10 percent DV of folate.
Totally radical(-fighting) anthocyanins: The unsung heroes in strawberries
While Handley praises berries’ high vitamin C content, he says it’s the free-radical fighting compounds called anthocyanins that are the true all-star health components of strawberries.
“Anthocyanin pigments are anti-carcinogenic and berries that have a deep red color like strawberries or deep blue, such as blueberries, tend to be high in these anthocyanin compounds,” says Handley, who adds that strawberries are also rich in another natural antioxidant compound called ellagic acid.
study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry confirms the health benefits of anthocyanin-rich fruits.
Can strawberries prevent cancer?
There is evidence that they just might. Two years ago, data revealed by researchers at Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center concluded that seven common berries, including strawberries, prevented certain cancers from developing in in rodents.
The findings of the Ohio State study suggest that it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on exotic berries (acai, blackberries, wolfberries, goji, etc.) to derive the same cancer-fighting benefits.
“With respect to cancer prevention, it’s not clear that the ‘exotic’ berry types are any more effective than the less expensive blueberries, strawberries and red raspberries,” researcher Dr. Gary Stoner said in the study’s press release.
Can strawberries prevent memory loss?
Yes, according to researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Woman’s Hospital. In a studypublished in the Annals of Neurology, berries — including strawberries — can delay cognitive impairments by up to 2.5 years.
One might say, “Why should I bother eating berries if I’m going to have memory loss anyway? Two and a half years … is it worth it?”
Considering that antioxidant-rich berries have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, it’s a good idea to include free-radical fighting berries in your diet.
Does the nutritional content vary between organic and conventionally grown strawberries?
According to the University of Maine’s Handley, there may be some subtle differences.
“I’ve read studies that bounce both ways; they are mostly minor differences. One study claims conventional-grown strawberries contain more potassium, while another study might say that organic strawberries are higher in zinc,” says Handley, who also said it’s difficult to control studies analyzing the difference between organic and conventionally grown strawberries.
“Not all researchers use the same protocols for organic standards and testing methods also vary,” he says.
The good news about conventionally grown strawberries? Handley says that the philosophies and ideas that organic farmers were pushing decades ago in relation to soil health have spilled over recently into conventional farming.
“Conventional farmers are now more concerned about soil health for the long term,” says Handley, who acknowledges that though conventional farmers still rely on fumigation practices, the process now eliminates the most toxic elements such as methyl bromide and also uses drip fumigation instead of a full fumigation assault on the entire crop.
Despite the improvements in conventional farming practices, Handley advises, “Wash your fruit.”

Side effects of becoming vegetarian

There are several medical studies linking vegetarian diets to lower incidences of certain types of cancers, heart disease, Type II diabetes and other chronic diseases. Many news headlines say vegetarians live longer than meat eaters.
Thinking about going veggie? Before permanently clearing out the steak knives from your kitchen, consider some of the following possible side effects of becoming vegetarian:
1. Low cholesterol levels: Virtually every medical study on vegetarian populations, including the prominent Oxford Vegetarian Study of 5,000 vegetarian subjects, have concluded that vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels than non-vegetarians. Most in the mainstream medical community, including the American Heart Association, recommend keeping total cholesterol levels under 200.
However, another study by the Honolulu Heart Program — which focused on the cholesterol levels more than 3,500 Japanese-American men aged 71-93 years, not necessary what eating trends produced those cholesterol levels — concluded that “Only the group with low cholesterol concentration … had a significant association with mortality.” The Heart Program study, according to at least one medical doctor, demonstrates that having continuously, extremely low levels of cholesterol may lead to an early death.
2. Increased risk of colorectal cancer: One would assume that heavy meat eaters would have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer but a review published in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition of the aforementioned Oxford study reveals, “Within the study, the incidence of all cancers combined was lower among vegetarians than among meat eaters, but the incidence of colorectal cancer was higher in vegetarians than in meat eaters.”
Vegetarians demonstrated a 39 percent higher incidence of colorectal cancer, which is confounding, given that eating red meat leads to higher colorectal cancer rates. The study’s researchers, although not unequivocal in being able to explain the findings, theorize that the vegetarian participants were perhaps not eating sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables.
3. Lower bone mineral density: While it’s possible for vegetarians to consume adequate amounts of protein, calcium, iron and vitamin D (if supplementing properly or getting enough sunlight) to ensure proper muscle and bone development, one studyconcluded that vegetarians had approximately 5 percent lower bone-mineral density (BMD) than non-vegetarians. The results of the study, the authors conclude, suggest that vegetarian diets — especially vegan diets — are associated with lower BMD. But don’t despair if you’re a vegetarian or thinking about becoming one. The authors claim that the “magnitude of the association is clinically insignificant.”
4. Lower levels of vitamin B12: study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry says that omnivores have a significantly higher cluster of cardiovascular risk factors than vegetarians. But one potential risk of becoming a vegetarian seems to be the preponderance of lower vitamin B12 in the blood. B12 helps with metabolism, converting food into stable energy, utilizing iron, producing healthy red blood cells, and a host of other benefits.
The risk of low B12 levels, according to the study’s authors, can result in arteriosclerosis. Several vegetarian-friendly foods such as cereals are fortified with vitamin B12. If you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian and eat dairy and eggs, you are likely consuming adequate amounts of B12. Yeast extracts are a good choice for vegetarians abstaining from dairy and eggs.
5. Insufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids: paper published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims that vegetarians have lower levels long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA [See related: Omega-3’s for vegetarians]. Sufficient levels of long-chain omega-3s are beneficial for cardiovascular health, say the study’s authors, who also concluded that DHA supplementation at a dose of about 2 grams per day eventually decreased plasma cholesterol.
Katie Minor, a senior instructor of nutrition at the University of Idaho, tells, “Nuts and flaxseed can supply enough sources of essential fatty acids. I haven’t seen evidence that vegetarians are lacking in essential fatty acids. They seem to be adequate.”
Based on the conclusions of numerous medical studies, eating a vegetarian diet offers numerous health benefits. However, the same advice can be offered for vegetarians as for omnivores: exercise regularly, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit every day and avoid processed foods.
One last morsel for thought: if you’re concerned at all about side effects of becoming vegetarian, Minor says to consider being a “flexitarian.”
“Flexitarians are people who are vegetarian most of the time, but once in a while will consume an animal protein,” she says. “The more restrictive you are with your diet, the more you’ll have to closely monitor what you’re consuming and the more likely your need will be to supplement. Work with a registered dietician to make sure you’re not at risk for dietary deficiencies.”

Oatmeal nutrition facts

Is oatmeal truly beneficial for reducing cholesterol and keeping our hearts healthy? Let’s review some oatmeal nutrition facts to get the real scoop.
A half-cup of instant, regular oatmeal contains the following:
  • 150 calories
  • 30 grams of carbohydrates
  • 8 grams of fiber
  • 11 grams of protein
  • 5 grams of fat (1 gram saturated)
  • 20 percent daily value (DV) of iron
Oatmeal is also rich in other minerals. The same half-cup of plain, instant oatmeal contains:
  • 30 percent DV of magnesium
  • 33 percent DV of phosphorous
  • 33 percent DV of selenium
  • 20 percent DV of copper
  • 150 percent DV of manganese
Isn’t 30 grams of carbs a lot for weight-watchers?
Maybe for a bodybuilder about to compete in a contest, but for the majority of people, the mix of slow-burning carbohydrates and fiber found in oats is a great source of fuel for breakfast.
In fact, medical studies back this claim.
The fiber found in oats, barley, and pectin-rich fruits and vegetables provides lipid-lowering benefits, says a paper by the American Heart Association. The AHA recommends a total dietary fiber intake of 25 to 30 grams per day from foods.
Current dietary fiber intake among adults in the United States averages about half the recommended amount, says the AHA paper.
In addition to reducing serum lipid levels, diets that include whole-grain sources such as oatmeal helped reduce blood pressure in men and women who have elevated levels of cholesterol, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Not everyone thinks oatmeal should be touted as a healthy food.
An article in the Chicago Tribune reported that a consumer advocacy organization, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission, accusing Quaker Oats of exaggerating the health benefits of oatmeal.
But more recent research seems to vindicate the oatmeal claims.
In a review of several studies on oatmeal’s benefits, published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, the data concludes that the soluble fiber in oats does indeed lower cholesterol and contains properties that bolster cardiovascular health.
Other oatmeal benefits mentioned in the study include:
  • Preventing oxidation of arteries
  • Curbing weight gain
  • Preventing type 2 diabetes
  • Bolstering the immune system
What’s the main compound in oatmeal that’s so healthy?
A fiber known as beta-glucan seems to be the all-star compound in oatmeal. There have been hundreds of studies published on beta-glucan.
One study published in Vascular Health Risk Management concluded, “Dietary intake of beta-glucans has been shown to reduce risk factors to benefit the treatment of diabetes and associated complications. In addition, beta-glucans also promote wound healing and alleviate ischemic heart injury.
Can I take a beta-glucan supplement if I don’t like oatmeal?
You can but the Vascular Health study also concluded, “…The mechanisms behind the effect of beta-glucans on diabetes and associated complications need to be further studied using pure beta-glucan.”
But, at least one study, published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, concluded that a beta-glucan supplement may prevent upper respiratory tract symptoms, and improve overall health and mood following a competitive marathon.
Does oatmeal contain gluten?
Pure oatmeal does not contain gluten; however, most oatmeal is made in facilities that also process wheat, so a bit of cross-contamination may occur. It’s possible that people with Celiac disease may have an adverse reaction to commercially made oatmeal. This group should buy certified gluten-free oatmeal from a health food store.
Why not eat oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Oatmeal is also rich in omega-6 fatty acids, containing almost 2 grams per half-cup serving. Omega-6s seem to be a mixed bag, providing some health benefits, yet too much of them — combined with too little omega-3 fatty acid sources — can cause inflammation and other problems.
Most Americans consume upwards of 20 times more omega-6s than omega-3s, instead of the recommended ratio of 2-4:1 (up to four times more 6s than 3s); most nutritionists would likely caution against consuming large quantities of oatmeal as a result.
What about flavored packets of oatmeal?
The nutrition is roughly the same with the big exception being the amount of sugar. A packet of Quaker Oats’ apple and cinnamon instant contains 12 grams of sugar, as opposed to just one gram in regular oatmeal.
The fiber in the oatmeal will somewhat help prevent precipitous spikes and drops in blood sugar, however, those who are trying to lose weight or prevent diabetes should stick with the regular, unflavored variety.
Adding a handful of blueberries and a small squirt of raw honey can add sweetness to the oatmeal without adding refined sugar.

Coconut oil benefits

One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 12 grams of saturated fat. Nearly 60 percent of the 115 calories in one tablespoon comes from saturated fat. The remaining 40 percent is unsaturated fat. Coconut oil is 100 percent fat and lacks any vitamins or common minerals.
If you’ve been consuming coconut oil regularly, should you call your cardiologist?
Or, are there some healthy coconut oil benefits that aren’t readily apparent from reading the nutrition label on the jar? Is coconut oil harmful, harmlessly neutral, or healthy? Let’s take a look…
1. Coconut oil raises LDL cholesterol: Stop the presses! Isn’t LDL the ‘bad’ cholesterol? Some medical papers warn that tropical oils like coconut oil increase the body’s level of LDL, also known as low-density lipoprotein. But are higher LDL levels unequivocally a bad thing? Some research goes against popular conceptions. One smallstudy of non-exercisers who were put through a rigorous workout determined that those who gained the most muscle mass also had the highest levels of LDLs. At least one doctor commented on this study, suggesting that LDL cholesterol and muscle function has a direct correlation.
2. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat but won’t make you fat: Again, contrary to public opinion, the fact that coconut oil is high in saturated fat but is considered a health food by many might confound people. But not all fat is created equally; some forms are easily absorbed and utilized by the body (specifically medium and short-chain fats; coconut oil is medium chain). In other words, consuming non-hydrogenated (processed), natural forms of saturated fat will not make you fat, necessarily. One study published in the journal Lipids concluded, “It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia [high blood cholesterol levels] and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.”
3. Coconut oil increases HDL cholesterol: Similar to the popular notion that LDL cholesterol is ‘bad,’ HDL cholesterol is generally regarded as good. Although some researchers claim that cholesterol is cholesterol; it’s neither good nor bad, virtually every doctor encourages healthy HDL levels. Coconut oil was both vilified and lauded by Harvard School of Public Health’s, Walter Willett, M.D. Willett says in a Harvard Health Letter that coconut oil raises both LDL and HDL levels. “What's interesting about coconut oil is that it also gives ‘good’ HDL cholesterol a boost. Fat in the diet, whether it's saturated or unsaturated, tends to nudge HDL levels up, but coconut oil seems to be especially potent at doing so,” Willett concludes.
4. Coconut oil has anti-microbial properties: An abstract of a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food concluded: “It is noteworthy that coconut oil was active against species of Candida at 100 percent concentration compared to fluconazole. Coconut oil should be used in the treatment of fungal infections in view of emerging drug-resistant Candida species.”
research paper on the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community website by Dr. Jon Kabara, professor emeritus at Michigan State, states that coconut oil was recognized for its “extraordinary health properties” 4,000 years ago by the Ayurveda medicinal community in ancient India. “The medium chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found primarily in [coconut oil has] miraculous healing power. It is rare in the history of medicine to find substances that have such useful properties and still be without toxicity or even harmful side effects.” (p.1)
5. Coconut oil may help prevent heart disease: The Coconut Research Center claims a large number of studies prove a direct correlation between chronic infections and heart disease. Pathogenic organisms are killed by medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil. Therefore, says the Center, coconut oil can reduce the risk of heart disease.
One of the studies the Center points to is one published in the journal, Lipids, which concludes, “[P]olicies that prioritize the reduction of SFA [saturated fatty acid] consumption without specifically considering the replacement nutrient may have little or no effects on [cardiovascular] disease risk, especially as the most common replacement in populations is often [carbohydrates].” In other words, at the very least, some research proves that saturated fat is not necessarily bad for heart health and a diet high in carbohydrates could be much worse.