The current recommendation is <10% calories from saturated fat. This was set as some research shows that saturated fat intake raises the level of cholesterol in the blood. Specifically, the LDL or what we consider “bad cholesterol”. Further, we can break the LDL into two types: B (small and dense) vs. A (bigger and “fluffier”).
So let’s change the conversation to Type B= Bad and Type A= Good!
Why is type B bad? Well, they are smaller which means they are able to squeeze into places more readily than the bigger LDL (Type A). This creates more blocks and plaque build up in our arteries which causes cardiovascular disease. In fact, some older studies have shown that the smaller and more dense LDL were 3x more likely to cause heart disease.
So, while saturated fat intake CAN increase LDL, it is unclear as to how exactly the LDL ratio changes in regards to type A vs type B.
However, the real issue is overconsumption and specifically, overconsumption or excessive amount of carbohydrates. When we have an excessive intake of carbohydrates, research has shown that there is a promotion of the transition from big and fluffy (Type A) to the small dense LDL (Type B).
So, in short, I do feel there needs to be a better look at our current saturated fat recommendations for the general population and more emphasis on healthy whole grains. This is a great reminder as to why the whole foods approach we talk about in our program is so beneficial to our clients health not only from a weight standpoint but also in regards to disease prevention.
What sparked my interest? Read it here: https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4226?fbclid=IwAR0LvRT9zeZI43kFae4AEyUCH69p5w8W92VAggHTIaPy63CXldvufQLyTRs