NCI Well Connect Mid-Week Brief
June 21, 2017
Dear Steve, 

DID YOU KNOW that a study in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who consumed fried potatoes 2-3 times per week or more were at an increased risk of mortality?

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Have a happy, healthy day. Steve and Bonnie
AHA Blasts Coconut Oil

Bonnie and Steve:
 The American Heart Association released a "Presidential Advisory" on saturated fat which received a lot of press last week.

I'm sure many of you are wondering why they came down so hard on coconut oil. Believe it or not, there were some very useful suggestions in this paper. Of course, there were other statements that were downright ludicrous, such as their take on coconut oil. We'll help you discern the good from the bad.

First, we must mention that the AHA finally admitted that saturated fat is not the only enemy for cardiac risk. This is a huge plus. They still regard saturated fat as enemy number one, which is misguided, but at least they acknowledge there are other enemies.

"In addition, several studies found that coconut oil - which is predominantly saturated fat but widely touted as healthy - raised LDL cholesterol the same way as did other saturated fats found in butter, meat, and palm oil."

Our Take: As we have said numerous times, LDL is not the enemy. None of the "studies" the AHA cites have merit. Consuming coconut oil in moderation has no measurable effect on LDL. Beyond that, coconut oil has many beneficial properties over saturated animal or certain vegetable fats.

Coconut lacks what most experts consider the unhealthiest aspect of saturated fat: linolenic acid.

Coconut oil is rarely processed. Whenever a saturated fat is processed or used in cooking at higher heat than makes it unstable, the fat oxidizes and becomes unhealthy. This has an effect on LDL. Coconut oil has the distinction of having one the highest smoking point of any oil.

Coconut oil is nearly 50% lauric acid, a beneficial fatty acid that turns into monolaurin, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Coconut oil contains MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), heart healthy fats that are burned in your liver for energy and are easier to break down than other fats.
You may have also heard about coconut oil as a preventive for dementia. MCTs provide an alternative fuel source for brain cells that are unable to to utilize glucose properly and are starved for energy. So you I guess you could say that coconut oil may be a good insurance policy.
"Our message is that polyunsaturated fats are the best fats to eat. They are found mainly in vegetable oils such as soy bean oil, peanut oil, corn oil. Monounsaturated fats, found in sunflower oil, olive oil, nuts, and avocado, are also okay - much better than saturated fats, but not as healthy as polyunsaturated fats."

Our Take: Oy and double oy. How absolutely wrong can they be? Soybean, peanut, and corn oil contain are all inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. They will raise your C-reactive protein, the most important cardiac risk marker.

To say that olive oil, nuts, and avocados are not as healthy as polyunsaturated fats is completely, agonizingly incorrect. We cannot say this more emphatically!

"It is no good eating less saturated fat if you are going to substitute it with white bread, sugar, and processed carbohydrate. But there have been studies in the last few years which have been able to separate out carbohydrates, and these have shown that, rather like fats, there are good carbs and bad carbs."

"People have been eating bad carbs instead of saturated fat. This will not reduce your risks of heart disease. We wanted to spell it out that there are different types of carbohydrates and people should be eating the good ones. If people replace saturated fats with these good carbs, then there is a reduction in coronary heart disease."

Our Take: Whoah! This is a big step for the AHA. They are correct.

We need saturated fat to survive. Plain and simple. Saturated fat is a source of essential fatty acids and helps the body absorb vitamins, such as A, D and E. 

Genetically, some handle saturated fats better than others. With our genetic analysis, we can tell you if saturated fat will be detrimentally for you.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your intake to 20 grams per day or less. For example, one ounce of regular cheddar cheese has 6 grams of saturated fat. If you are eating an optimal diet, you will never come close to reaching 20 grams.

Focusing on compatible carbs and consuming no refined carbs/sugar is the key!
Mind Over Genes

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Bonnie and Steve: 
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