Fats and Oils

Many people in their attempts to eat a low fat diet are not eating enough essential oils. Every cell in your body requires essential oils (omega 3), especially your brain. These omega 3s are also anti-inflammatory – all disease processes are inflammatory so it is very important to consume anti-inflammatory foods. They are called essential fatty acids because the body cannot make them – you must include them in your diet!

Ways to include healthy fats in the diet

The main essential fat you need in the diet is omega 3 fatty acids – available in fresh fish (eg mackerel, salmon, herring), cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, raw unsalted nuts and seeds (walnuts, pecans, pepitas etc), tahini and avocado. Add extra virgin cold pressed olive oil to your salads and vegetables (it makes a lovely salad dressing – you can also add fresh lemon or tahini and basil).

For cooking use cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter (real unsalted block butter), ghee or animal fat.

Plant sterols can lower cholesterol levels

They are found naturally in plant foods including nuts, seeds, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), fruit and vegetables. Some margarine has concentrated plant sterols added. Margarines enriched with plant sterols may help lower LDL cholesterol but do not treat the cause of the elevated cholesterol. They also often contain trans fats and other unnatural chemicals that cause inflammation which is what drives heart disease. These sterol margarines only affect cholesterol absorption from the diet; they have no effect on the cholesterol your body makes.

“The belief that the cholesterol we eat converts directly into blood cholesterol is unequivocally false” David Perlmutter, MD (Neurologist)

Remember it is not the cholesterol number that matters, it is the oxidised cholesterol that causes trouble – anything that increases inflammation will cause oxidation. What also matters is the sub particles of LDLs. Small dense LDLs are drivers of heart disease and they are increased with a high carbohydrate/high sugar diet.


Eggs are very nutritious and should be part of a healthy balanced diet. They contain good quality protein and omega-3, plus 10 vitamins and minerals. Boiled or poached is best, always cook eggs at a low temperature. The dietary cholesterol in eggs has no effect on blood cholesterol.


Are you taking cholesterol lowering medication?

Most cholesterol lowering medications affect only the cholesterol you make and therefore have no effect on the cholesterol that you eat. It is important to note that high cholesterol is not caused by a deficiency in statin drugs! They do not address the cause of the inflammation which is the real concern in cardiovascular disease. Dr Ross Walker, Cardiologist say’s he treats a person, not a cholesterol number!

Did you know that some commonly prescribed cholesterol medications will be depleted of co-enzyme Q10 in the body? Co-enzyme Q10 is essential to cardiovascular health, it is a very important antioxidant for the heart (remember you need antioxidants to stop your body from making oxidised cholesterol (the dangerous cholesterol). The highest concentrations are found in the heart where its action is vital to healthy functioning heart muscle tissues. Taking good quality a co-enzyme Q10 supplement can:

  • Help maintain the body’s co-enzyme Q10 levels
  • Promote cardiovascular health
  • Maintain energy levels
  • Reduce muscle pain & weakness (common side-effect of statins due to depletion of co-enzyme Q10).

Book an appointment with one of our nutritionists so we can prescribe good quality evidence based practitioner only supplementation that will actually help you – we also know how to prescribe safely with medications and possible positive and negative interaction in mind – that is what we have been trained in). Call 4573 2415.

Magnesium deficiency is also common for people on cholesterol and blood pressure medications. It is important for mood, motivation, blood sugar regulation, muscle relaxation, heart health, blood pressure management just for starters!

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For more information or personalised advice on a healthy diet contact Informed Health on (02) 4573 2415  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

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