Heart Disease and High-Fat Diets: Myths and Truths
We've all witnessed how technology has improved and advanced. On the other hand, our eating habits have considerably worsened and our diets have become less healthy and lack proper nutrition. Next, learn why high-fat diets are linked to heart disease.
No one can deny that fatty meals aren’t our best friends. But, the main issue resides in the quantity and types of fats that we eat. There’s a connection between high-fat diets and heart disease. In this article, we’re going to tell you more about this.
Is fat to blame?
There’s a famous saying that claims, “we are what we eat”. We can also add that we become sick if we don’t take care of our diets. There are many factors that can affect our health, such as physical activity, smoking, drinking alcohol and family history. These are all related to heart disease and diet is a contributing factor.
Fats are believed to be our number one enemy. However, many studies show that it’s more about the quantity and quality of fat that we consume.
If we say that all fats are bad, then we’d be missing the benefits that some types of fats have (the so-called healthy fats). Trans saturated fat is the type of fat that can cause diseases. For that reason, it’s important to control and decrease its intake.
On the other hand, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, present in many foods in the Mediterranean diet, can help to reduce the number of people suffering from heart diseases today.
Also, we can’t forget polyunsaturated fatty acids, also known as omega-3 (found mostly in fish). Omega-3 is essential in your diet.
High-fat diets equal heart disease
Although this formula seems accurate to define the risks of a high-fat diet, it’s not totally true. There have been many types of research on the effects that fat has on cardiovascular health.
Basically, researchers are trying to discover the link between fats and cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart attacks. Until not long ago, it was believed that the risk of developing heart disease was associated with fat intake. Nowadays we know that eating “bad” fat is one of the causes, but not the only one.
In the last few decades, we have changed (for the worse) our eating habits. We have been consuming too much trans fat, found in the foods we buy and eat daily. This directly affects the health of our generation. The habit of eating fried and fast foods is deeply rooted in our society.
We must monitor our diets and understand what we are feeding our children. Since the sudden rise of foods rich in trans fat (such as palm oil) and the huge availability of industrialized food products, heart disease and obesity have increased, even in children.
Partially or fully hydrogenated oil, used in pastries, custards, butter, frozen and precooked foods, baked goods and even breakfast cereals are also responsible for the rise in people suffering from high cholesterol.
This is due to the process that transforms oil into fatty acid, that once consumed, our bodies transform into lipids. Therefore, besides increasing the “bad cholesterol” and triglycerides they also reduce the levels of the “good cholesterol” or HDL.
And, we cannot forget about the saturated fats from animal products such as meat or eggs. The problem arises when we fry these foods in oil at high temperatures.
What causes heart disease?
We can say that the excessive intake of trans and saturated fats are responsible for heart disease. But, this is solely blaming fats, when they are only part of the problem.
There exist other causes that are important to highlight. Some of the different risk factors for cardiovascular disease are:
- High blood pressure (can be caused by excessive intake of sodium and even emotional reasons).
- Overweight and obesity.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Hereditary factors.
- Alcohol consumption.
Therefore, affirming that fat is solely responsible for heart disease is false. Fats present just one risk factor, and luckily, we can adjust our diets and control this. The health of our heart depends on us!