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Healthy Heart Reports

How Saturated Fats Cause Heart Attacks

Saturated fats, found in meat, diary products and eggs, increase risk for heart attacks, but only if you take in more calories than you need.

If you reduce your intake of calories by one third and eat nothing but fatty meats and diary products, your cholesterol will go down. If you restrict saturated fats in meat and increase your intake of calories markedly, your triglycerides and insulin levels will go up, your good HDL cholesterol will go down and you will increase your risk for a heart attack. Saturated fats are broken down in your liver to acetone units. If you take in more calories than you need, the acetone units are used as building blocks to make cholesterol and your blood cholesterol level rises. On the other hand, if you are not taking in extra calories, the acetone units are burned for energy and do not raise cholesterol. Eating large amounts of saturated fats can also increase your heart attack risk by increasing clotting, raising blood pressure and constricting arteries. Current recommendations are to avoid overeating and gaining weight first. Second is to eat less fat, particularly saturated fat.

1) P Nestel. Saturated and trans fatty acids and coronary heart disease. European Heart Journal Supplements, 1999, Vol 1, Iss S, pp S19-S23. Address Nestel P, Baker Med Res Inst, POB 6492, St Kilda Rd Cent, Melbourne, Vic 8000, AUSTRALIA.

2) A Bonanome. Factors affecting LDL cholesterol reduction: unsaturated fatty acids. European Heart Journal Supplements, 1999, Vol 1, Iss S, pp S24-S28. Address Bonanome A, Univ Padua, Osped Castelfranco Veneto, Dept Internal Med, Via Osped 18, I-31033 Castelfranco Veneto, ITALY

Copyright 2003
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

For more recipes, refer to the The Healthy Heart Miracle book.