Many Australians have been led to believe that saturated fats, found in meat, butter and cheese are a cause of heart disease. But new research published this week found that those who hate higher levels of saturated fats didn’t actually have higher levels of heart disease than those who ate less saturated fats.
Dr Ross Walker is a Sydney based cardiologist, who speaks and writes about health. He agrees that saturated fats don’t cause heart disease.
“I’ve been saying this for years. I wrote a book in 2002 called The Cell Factor where I said, ‘There is no relationship between saturated fat intake and heart disease, but unfortunately many conservative thinkers in this area have just kept this nonsense going.”
Dr Walker says it’s now been established that trans-fatty acids found in processed foods are much more of a concern. “The natural trans-fats that you get in meat, eggs and dairy to a lesser extent are in very small amounts and completely harmless like saturated fat, but it’s the synthetic trans-fats that don’t occur naturally that are produced by a process of hydrogenation.”
“If you have a piece of steak every day of your life that’s 5% increase in saturated fat and from these studies there’s no increased risk for heart disease. But if you have a croissant or a donut or a low-fat muffin every day, that’s a 2% increase in trans-fatty acids and that translates to a 93% increase for cardio-vascualr risk.”
So how should we be eating. Dr Ross Walker says it’s really quite simple: Eat less and eat more naturally. Here are Dr Walker’s top three tips for improving your heart health.
1. Eat less. Cut down the size of your helpings, eat off smaller plates, don’t have second helpings, don’t have dessert most of the time and don’t graze between meals.
2. Try to avoid processed, packaged muck masquerading as food.
3. Avoid ‘White Death’. This includes sugar, white rice, white bread and potatoes.
4. Eat 2 – 3 serves of fruit per day and 3 – 5 serves of vegetables.
“Only 10% of the modern world do that, but those who do have the lowers rates of heart disease and cancer,” Dr Walker says.
Audio: Hear leading cardiologist, Dr Ross Walker, discuss the best ways to avoid heart disease.
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