I previously discussed saturated fat under a separate post but think it is important to repeat here:

Saturated fat – finally the truth!

There are three main kinds of saturated fats. Short chain (eg butter) – which is healthy, butter actually breaks down to butyric acid in the body and this is colon protective. (The soluble fibre in an apple also breaks down in to butyric acid, which is also why apples are colon protective). Medium chain (eg coconut oil) – this is also healthy. It is long chain saturated fats that are damaging to the body. The main foods that cause heart disease are refined sugars including grains. These foods, especially if combined with a low fat diet will be stored as long chain saturated fatty acids in the body, this is what will clog up your arteries and cause atherosclerosis.


Highly refined carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all of the products made from them) over stimulate the immune system and cause inflammation.

Dr Dwight Lundell, a heart surgeon and author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie explains how this happens:

“Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume refined carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works. When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.”

This is usually visceral fat which is the dangerous fat that covers your abdominal organs and leads to a fatty liver.

What does all this have to do with inflammation?

Dr Lundell explains “blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes.  Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended.  It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.”

The other issue is excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils such as soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods. Omega 6 are also important for the functioning of the body but most people over consume omega 6 and under consume omega 3 fats which puts everything out of balance in the body and contributes to inflammation.

Other causes of inflammation can be food allergies/intolerances, parasites, bacteria, stress, viruses, exposure to chemicals including what you put on your skin.

Go back to part 1

Go to part 3

For more information or personalised advice on a healthy diet contact Informed Health on (02) 47 222 111 or www.informedhealth.com.au


References and further reading:

Dreon DM, Fernstrom HA, et al. Low-density lipoprotein subclass patterns and lipoprotein response to a reduced fat diet in men. FASEB Journal, 1994. Available at URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8299884

Dreon DM, Fernstrom HA, et al. Change in dietary saturated fat intake is correlated with change in mass of large low-density-lipoprotein particles in men, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1998. Available at URL: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/67/5/828.short

Eddey Stephen. Cardiovascular Disease: The best treatment options, 2011. Health Schools Australia, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.

Mensink RP, Katan MB. Effect of dietary fatty acids on serum lipids ad lipoproteins. A meta analysis of 27 trials. Arteriosclerosis and Thrombosis, 1992. Available at URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1386252

Mensink RP, Zock PL, et al. Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003. Available at URL: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/77/5/1146.short

Mente, de Koning et al. A systematic review of the evidence supporting a causal link between dietary factors and coronary heart disease.  Archives of Internal Medicine, 2009. Available at URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19364995

Ravnskov U. The questionable role of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular disease, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 1998. Available at URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9635993

Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q et al. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010.  Available at URL: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract
Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q et al. Saturated fat, carbohydrate, and cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010. Available at URL: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/502.short

Other references and studies are available here: http://www.dietdoctor.com/science



Big Fat Lies (a brief video history of the failed fat/lipid hypothesis approx. 2 ½ minutes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8WA5wcaHp4