The number of people who suffer diabetes and heart disease in the U.S. is at an astronomical level. A study at Ohio State reveals the nutrient in our food that is likely responsible for much of this health disaster.
It isn’t saturated fat. The Ohio research into how food affects the level of disease-related compounds in the body shows that our penchant for sugar and other refined carbohydrates in processed food increases the risk for blood sugar irregularities and cardiovascular disease.
The study “challenges the conventional wisdom that has demonized saturated fat and extends our knowledge of why dietary saturated fat doesn’t correlate with disease,” says researcher Jeff Volek, a professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University.
The research demonstrates that total saturated fat in the circulating blood does not climb (it goes down) in most people who eat larger amounts of fat but less carbohydrates. The scientists measured blood levels of palmitoleic acid, a fat created by the body that is linked to poor metabolism of carbohydrates and makes you more prone to diabetes.
They showed that palmitoleic acid went down when the people in the study ate a low-carb diet. Conversely, it climbed when carbs were increasingly eaten.
“When you consume a very low-carb diet your body preferentially burns saturated fat,” Volek said. “We had people eat 2 times more saturated fat than they had been eating before entering the study, yet when we measured saturated fat in their blood, it went down in the majority of people. Other traditional risk markers improved, as well.”
Volek says that to protect your heart, it is most important to limit the refined carbohydrates you consume. Skip the sweets.