In this week’s episode of Escape from Caloriegate, we welcome Alan Watson of DietHeartNews.com. Alan is an accomplished author and nutrition researcher, whose works include “21 Days to a Healthy Heart” (2002) and “Cereal Killer: The Unintended Consequences of the Low Fat Diet” (2008).
I believe his “Illustrated History of Heart Disease 1825-2015” piece is a MUST READ. Please check it out and share it around.
Watson is a convincing advocate for a low carb, high fat, whole foods diet, and he spoke at length about the fascinating relationship between diet and heart disease.
Here are some cool highlights from the show:
- In the last 50 years, we have seen a HUGE shift in the American diet.
- In 1910, lard was the #1 cooking fat. At Watson’s grandfather’s dairy farm, skim milk was fed to pigs to fatten them; cream was hauled off to make butter. Mortality from heart disease was just 3-8%, Today, it’s 45%! Our genes don’t change that fast. What HAS changed is the quality of the food we’re eating.
- Since 1960, sugar consumption has spiked 40%, as has grain consumption. Butter consumption, meanwhile, went down by 30%, and we eat 18% fewer eggs.
- We’ve shifted away from natural fats to soybean oil and processed fats.
- Since 1980, obesity / diabetes has surged, and heart failure has doubled since 1987.
- The type of fat we’re eating has changed dramatically. We’re consuming much more polyunsaturated fats — too much damaged omega 6, which leads to inflammation.
- Scientists now believe that inflammaton is the cause of heart diease… and not cholesterol.
- Yet the 2010 Dietary Guidelines lump saturated fats with trans fats, calling them “solid fats,” which doesn’t mean a thing.
- Dr. Mary Enig, in her book “Know Your Fats,” provides compelling evidence that, inside the body, saturated fat and trans fat behave completely differently.
- Beef fat = predominantly oleic acid, the same “healthy” monounsaturated fat found in olive oil.
- Used to be: skim mlk was given to pigs to fatten them up. Today, we give skim milk to our kids.
- Compare two breakfast: Alan eats three eggs fried in lard with sausage. I eat a bowl of cheerios with skim milk and a glass of O.J. Whose breakfast is more “heart healthy”?
- I’m meeting Dietary Guildlines; he’s off the charts in the “wrong direction.”
- Dietary fat and cholesterol end up in the intestinal wall: the body breaks down fats, then reassembles them into triglycerides, which are put on chylomicrons (apoB48) and delivered to the body’s 70 trillion cells.
- These chylomicrons have a half life of just 14 minutes; within that time, body snatches up all that fat — that’s how important fat is!
- Within just 2-3 hrs after the meal, very little signs of apoB48. It’s gone, into the cell membranes, etc.
- My meal is another story! The skim milk contains sugar (galactose) and very little fat. All the sugar goes into the blood. Fructose goes to the liver. My meal will take the liver 12 hours to process. The liver then sends that out in VLDL, which loses its fat and becomes LDL, which delivers cholesterol to the body.
- Dietary fat has nothing to do with LDL! LDL is related to carb intake. Dietary fat is innocent: a completely different pathway.
- When people get bloodwork done, they should ask for VLDL count.
- LDL # doesn’t really mean much or predict much, b/c it’s not the amount of LDL in the circulation that matters; it’s how many particles there are. Lipoproteins are particles — we can count them.
- Counting VLDLs gives us a reliable predictor of heart disease: triglyceride count and size of LDL particles.
- AHA did a 6 year study of hospital admissions in 542 hospitals. Did lipid profiles on people — checked HDL and LDL. Study went over 5 years. 75% of people who had heart attacks had LDL below 130. 50% had LDL below 100!
- Astonishingly, researcher’s conclusion was “maybe we have to lower LDL even more.”
- We’ve always been told that LDL is bad and HDL is good b/c HDL offers reverse transport — taking cholsterol back to the liver. Turns out, LDL also represents reverse transport. If your HDL and LDL are both low, then you have a failure of reverse transport back to the liver.
- When you look at your bloodwork, cross out total cholesterol. Doesn’t mean anything unless it’s too low.
- Dr. Peter Attia’s 9 segment discussion about cholesterol: definitive, detailed and reliable.
- Rood problem might be Ancel Keys’ 7 Countries Study. Even Keys, who was a leading figure in attacking cholesterol, acknowedged that cholesterol in food had no relationship to cholesterol in our blood.
- Yet in 2010 Dietary Guidelines, we are asked to limit cholesterol to 300 mg a day.
- People working in public health think we’re stupid, so they dumbed it down — “all cholesterol is bad” — that became authority. It wasn’t science. It was authority.
- Credible science would suggest there is no reason to limit dietary cholesterol.
- There’s a complete disconnect between valid credible science and public policy.
- Once food industry joined the National Cholesterol Education Program, we had the low fat Snackwell explosion. Once we got commited, no going back, even though it’s a catastrophe.
- Trans fats get incorporated into cell membranes, which weaken the cell, or they go to liver and turn into CO2 — also bad!
- We’re eatling less of the traditional fats. Bad fats create havoc in the body and inflame tissue. Inflammed tissue in the arteries is the start of heart disease.
- #1 cause of death in the U.S. is still heart disease, and when you add stroke and diabetes, it’s over a milion people. That’s the way most people die. 9/10 it’s a blood clot. They have clot-prone blood.
- Higher TGs = the #1 risk factor for a heart attack or blood clot. TGs are blood fats and not quickly cleared from the bloodstream. It may take hours and hours: liver has to turn the excess into fats (TGs), which are transported in the blood.
- Carbs you eat in excess of 60 grams (for most people) turn to fat; when you have elevated TGs (over 150), that reflects your carb load.
- If that’s true, your TGs will be high, the VLDV will be high and your HDL will be low — Harvard showed in a study a few years ago: the lower your HDL, the higher your TGs, which are the most important predictor of heart disease.
- The bad things we fear in our bloodwork have nothing to do with dietary fat — it’s a different pathway!
- The more carbs you eat, the more TGs you make.
- Carbs produce the TGs, and the TGs create the small dense LDL.
Check out more of Alan’s brilliant and clear work:
And, once again, I importune you to read and share his piece, “Illustrated History of Heart Disease 1825-2015.“