7 Reasons "Bad" Foods May Actually be Good for You
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN | April 11, 2014
Are there forbidden foods that are okay to eat?
If you’ve banished red meats and egg yolks from your diet for health reasons, there’s reason to rejoice. The notion that saturated fat and cholesterol are the demons in the diet is 100 percent wrong. When you look at the data, it’s very clear: Most of what we’ve been told about saturated fat and cholesterol is simply not so.
If saturated fat and cholesterol aren’t the culprits, what part of our diets may be contributing to cardiovascular disease?
Instead of saturated fat and cholesterol, most leading edge experts are now looking at inflammation as a prime mover in the development of heart disease. The irony is that the foods we were taught are good for us – breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes – are the very ones that are killing us. Our bodies convert these foods to sugar almost instantly. Sugar raises insulin, which causes inflammation, which is the fundamental cause of heart disease.
Does this mean it is now okay to eat butter?
Butter was never bad to begin with! It was banished from our tables because of our ill-advised fear of saturated fats. So we replaced it with something much worse!
Do Americans consume too much vegetable oil?
Yes. When we reduced our intake of saturated fat, and replaced it with vegetable oils (corn, soy, canola, etc.), the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in our diets became wildly out of balance. Omega 6s are the building blocks of inflammatory chemicals in our bodies, and we are consuming 6-25 times more of them than we are the anti-inflammatory omega-3s.
What types of oils should we use instead of vegetable oils?
We should substitute Malaysian red palm fruit oil for some of that inflammatory omega 6, which will help right the balance. Malaysian palm fruit oil won’t cause inflammation. It also won’t break down into toxic substances when you cook with it.
Is there still a place for cheese and nuts in a healthful diet?
One ounce a day is associated with lower body mass index, so these are absolutely healthy. But, they are also easy to overeat and contribute to weight gain, so just be careful about the amount you consume.
What is sugar’s role in the saturated fat/heart health debate?
Sugar is far more damaging to the heart than fat ever was. The world’s focus on cholesterol has been incredibly destructive because we haven’t looked at these real promoters of heart disease: inflammation, oxidative damage, sugar in the diet and – number one with a bullet – stress.