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SAFE Current research – Saturated fat and cardiovascular diseases

SAFE Current research – Saturated fat and cardiovascular diseases


Saturated fat and cardiovascular diseases


Yet again daily newspapers report about the ”war of fat” – Saturated VS unsaturated fat. The number of posts and shared links about studies and summaries touching the subject is vastly large. Does saturated fat cause cardiovascular failure or not? To create knowledge SAFE will, with help from our nutritionist Jill Holmström, create an understanding about the complexity in the different studies but also give the debate’s big picture a face.


“Since four years I regularly lecture to patients at Södersjukhuset (hospital in Stockholm) that has suffered cardiovascular failure. I meet underweight, normal weight, obese, young and elders from different walks of life and cultures that all have lived different lives but all ended with the same end result. That there should be one lone reason, like that saturated fat leads to heart failures, is unlikely and almost ridiculous to discuss. You have to see the big picture when it comes to your health: Which nutrients are you getting every day? How do you sleep? How often do you exercise? Stress? Smoking? Pesticide, environmental toxins and pollutants? Everything matters when you summarize all the factors regarding your health.


The debate has lost its tone when the arguments are “saturated fat gives you a heart attack” or “saturated fat will not cause a heart attack”. With this said, do we really need to care where the fat we eat derives from? The answer is YES. We need to care because we know that the body depends on different vitamins and minerals – and different sources of fat contains various nutrients. The discussion has to be of more importance than only about the different fatty acids.


Extreme malnutrition causes us to get sick, and depending on which nutrient we are missing the consequences will be there after. Therefore, varying your sources of fat between, for instance, egg, fat fish, meat and avocado. Different fatty acids have different functions in the body, so of course you want to consume both saturated and unsaturated fat. In contrast, you have to keep in mind in what amount you consume each kind of fat. If you have high blood pressure, dyslipidemia and are obese I recommend you to think about which your balance weaknesses are. Which detail do you need to change? Is it which fatty acid you consume the most of? Or is is the lack of vegetables in your nutrition? Too much sugar? Are your portions too big? Too much stress?


That we need fat is a given since it, for instance is needed for our cell membrane and in the buildup of hormones.  If we also bring up the discussions about animal care and the devastation of rain forests, that occurs to produce palm oil that is rich of saturated fatty acids and is used in a vast amount of product. We have many aspects to take into account.


Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis is a compilation or previous research done concerning fatty acids and risk for heart attacks. Their conclusion is “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats”. What you have to keep in mind reading compilation is that you are not informed about who sponsored the research. What type of people participated? Healthy? Obese? Young? Old? And which types of measurements are being used? But in conclusion, there is no proof that which set of fatty acid compilation you eat it will protect or cause a heart attack, of which I agree. As mentioned earlier: our health depends on everything as a whole: what we do, nutrition, and our personal need of these components. An athlete has a bigger need, and absorption, of saturated fat than a person that travels by car between work and the living room couch.


When it comes to your health, your behavior is the one interesting component – you are in charge of what you choose to eat. So, here is my challenge to you: stop eating candy, ice cream, chocolate, cookies, soda, alcohol, white breat, jam, fried food and all other purposeless calories. Replace it with organic ingredients in the amount that fills you up and harmonizes with how much you exercise. Work out on a regular basis, stop stressing, stop smoking and sleep a lot – and you will see what amazing health effects you will experience, no matter what the energy level between carbs and different fatty acids might be.


Which part of your “big picture” do you need to focus on improving?


Jill Holmström
Leg. Dietist och Lic. Personlig tränare

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