In recent years, the tarnished reputation of dietary fat and cholesterol has slowly begun to be redeemed. While there are still those who adamantly believe low-fat is best, there are some very specific reasons to reevaluate your low-fat diet.
When people go on to a low-fat diet, their macronutrient ratios (how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat are eaten relative to each other) shift considerably. When eating lower fat, the macronutrient that generally increases to replace fat’s calorie contribution is carbohydrate. While the body requires a certain level of carbohydrate for energy production, an excess cannot be used immediately and must be reallocated elsewhere in the body. These carbohydrates are broken down into their component glucose and delivered to the bloodstream. From there, the hormone insulin facilitates the reallocation of glucose.
While insulin is essential for maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels, chronically high glucose levels from a high carbohydrate diet lead to a chronic state of high insulin levels. This is perceived by the body as an emergency-level stress, and with stress comes inflammation. After all, insulin isn’t designed to be a daily use hormone, because it’s a relatively new phenomena for the human body to be inundated with sugar and concentrated, refined carbohydrates multiple times each day.
Constant insulin in the blood stream creates inflammation in the arteries. Over time, the arteries become weakened from the damage. In an attempt to prevent a tear, the body is able to patch up the damage using cholesterol, as well as other fats and minerals. This patch creates strength in an otherwise weak area, preventing fatal hemorrhaging. As the assault of inflammation continues year after year, these patches, known as plaques, continue to grow. They can become numerous and large enough to begin to obstruct the flow of blood through the arteries. The major error in mainstream medicine’s interpretation of this situation is that the presence of cholesterol indicates causation, when indeed it only indicates correlation. The cholesterol is actually performing a lifesaving measure! One analogy I’m fond of is that since fire trucks are always present at house fires, they must be the cause.
The single most important factor in preventing heart disease is a properly prepared, nutrient-dense diet made of appropriate macronutrient ratios and very low or devoid of processed carbohydrates and sugars, not a diet low in fat. The cholesterol is not the problem; it is the widespread inflammation caused by an inappropriate diet.