Once American scientist Ancel Keys introduced his “steak is a heart attack on a plate” hypothesis, Americans have been increasingly steered toward a more grain-based diet with a heavy reliance on unsaturated fats, being told they are better for cardiovascular health.
So where has this fear of meat and saturated fats gotten us?
Well, although death rates from heart disease have decreased from 1950 to today, the fact remains that 84 million people (about one out of four of us) has some form of cardiovascular disease.
What that translates to is: Daily drugging (with statins, high blood pressure pills, blood thinners, etc.), better testing and improved surgical techniques have decreased your chances of keeling over from heart disease, but nether drugs nor medical interventions nor avoiding meat has done diddly to prevent heart disease to begin with!
Plus our increasing reliance on grain-heavy diets have caused explosions in obesity and Type 2 diabetes to boot!
A new respect for meats and saturated fats
A shift in our thinking is finally taking place, and it’s about time.
For example, a recent new study has revealed that people who eat high levels of certain amino acids found in meats (as well as plant-based proteins) have lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness!
Lead researcher Dr. Amy Jennings, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: "This research shows a protective effect of several amino acids on cardiovascular health. Increasing intake from protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, dairy, produce, beans, lentils, broccoli and spinach could be an important and readily achievable way to reduce people's risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Plus the saturated fat found in meats (as well as dairy and butter) is no slouch either.
Saturated fats help fill you up and keep you satisfied (thereby decreasing your chances of overeating and gaining weight—another heart disease risk factor), they strengthen your cell walls and—get this—they are the kind of fat your heart draws upon during times of stress!
Keep it reasonable
The key here is to keep your consumption of meat and saturated fats reasonable.
A health-supporting serving of meat, fish or poultry is about 3-4 ounces, or a piece about the size of a deck of cards.
So if you’re thinking you have a green light to tackle a 20-ounce porterhouse or a triple bacon cheeseburger, better rethink that strategy.
Also incorporate good plant sources of amino acids mentioned in the study above like beans, legumes and cruciferous vegetables.
As far as other saturated fats go, make sure you’re choosing real butter and dairy products. Stay far away from margarine and fake fats.
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