Are You Getting The Wrong Advice…

Amanda King, ND
Written by Amanda King, ND

For Your Heart Health? 

For years we have been told that for a healthy heart, we need to eat a low fat diet with lots of vegetables, whole grains, lean white meat inc. poultry and to avoid red meat and saturated fats at all costs. Saturated fats being butter, lard, beef dripping or tallow, red meat, processed meat, bacon and eggs due to their high cholesterol content.  

The rationale we have all been sold is that a diet high in saturated fats, will raise your cholesterol levels. We were told that high cholesterol is a quick gateway to heart disease since that cholesterol in the blood stream apparently bunches together, it blocks your arteries, which could result in reduced blood flow to your heart… thereby increasing your risk of a heart attack and stroke… right? 


In fact this is so wrong, that it’s downright dangerous and this advice and misunderstandings around this kind of advice are responsible for vast numbers of unnecessary deaths from cardiovascular disease and the development of atherosclerosis (furring of arteries) itself. 

Photo by Engin Akyurt

I want to bust a few myths right here, right now! 

Myth Bust 1

Eggs will NOT significantly raise your blood cholesterol and you should definitely continue to eat eggs, even if you do have a cardiovascular disease diagnosis or you are on statins, otherwise you are missing out on one of nature’s most brilliant sources of nutrition. They aren’t called nature’s multi vitamin by accident. 

Myth Bust 2

Saturated Fat is GOOD for you. These fats are an important part of how our body signals with hormones and is an important source of the fat soluble Vitamins A, D, K and E and also comes packaged with nutrients like Choline for a healthy nervous system and Purines which help your body to make DNA (essential for your body to make so that it can repair damaged DNA which otherwise can lead to the development of cancer). 

Myth Bust 3

A low fat diet is a BAD idea. For the vast majority of people a low fat diet means more sugar since the fat is where the flavour usually is. Once that is removed it needs to be replaced with something for the food to be palatable still. Yep, sugar is bad and at the root of so many issues but sometimes the fats are replaced with seed oils like colza/rapeseed and tournesol/sunflower.. even with claims like ‘heart healthy’ and ‘cholesterol lowering’.. these claims on foods like margarines and ‘low fat’ spreads should be banned as what they claim is simply not true…. I’ll explain in the science bit later in this article. 

Myth Bust 4

Vegetable/seed oils DAMAGE your heart. In fact, oils like soy, rapeseed, sunflower and vegetable oils are often touted as heart healthy when in fact they are on balance probably the major cause of atherosclerosis and heart disease, yep, you read that right! 

Seed and vegetable oils contain high amounts of Linoleic Acid (LA) which is what we call an Omega 6 oil. Your body has to convert LA into other kinds of Omega 6 oils and in the end these cause inflammation by producing lots of pro-inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins. They do something much worse though. These Omega 6 fats get stored inside cells where they oxidise, which means they react with oxygen called ROS (radical oxygen species) and that makes them toxic to us. Essentially they poison our cells.

Photo by Gary Barnes

Vegetable oils are poisonous to the human body. 

As mammals we are not evolved to eat Omega 6 fats in the quantities we do.  It’s no coincidence that in the 1930 following developments in technology that allowed us to extract oils from seeds and with the inception of omega 6 oils into our diet, there came a concomitant rise in heart disease (and cancer). Now leading to the horrendous reality that more than 1 in 3 people in the West now develop heart disease and 1 in 2 are predicted to develop it in their lifetime by 2030. This is clearly a health crisis of gargantuan proportions and as a health professional, I find it so sad that the truth of how to avoid developing heart disease and other chronic diseases is really so simple… but it’s only simple with the right information and support.  Corporations who profit from the increasing sickness of people in the developed world, are only too happy to throw in doubt and decoys to create confusion and fear which ultimately boosts their profit margins. The politics of the food system and the medical industry is definitely a topic for another article, it’s an enormous subject. 

Omega 6 fats will oxidise LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol or the ‘bad’ cholesterol inside the cell and that’s bad news because that causes cell damage which then needs to be repaired. Too much cell damage and damage to the batteries of our cells, called the mitochondria and we will start to develop chronic diseases like heart disease, atherosclerosis and cancer. All chronic diseases or what we call diseases of modern lifestyle are caused by a combination of toxicity and deficiency. 

In order to be healthy it is recommended that we maintain a standard ratio of 2:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. That basically means you need to have 2 x the amount of Omega 6 in the body to Omega 3.  It would seem logical to then think that surely, all you have to do is supplement Omega 3 or eat plenty of oily fish, since Omega 3s come predominantly from fish and seafood. Let’s break down why for the vast majority of people that’s simply impossible. 

Photo by Dana Tentis

The standard person in the developed world has a ratio of around 20:1. Yes, you read that right!!  In order to redress that balance the average person would need to take about 65 Omega 3 capsules a day to get to 2:1. Then they would be consuming way too many calories and of course obesity would be a consequence and the problem would just spiral. 

The answer? 

Remove the sources of Omega 6 & also increase Omega 3. 

A little note about Omega 3 fats. These are Anti inflammatory and while some people, especially vegans or people who are not eating animal protein, have been taught that they can get Omega 3 from flaxseeds for example or from other ALA (Alpha linoleic acid) sources which the body then converts into the kinds of omega 3 that it can use called EPA (ecoisapentanoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid), it actually can’t do it that well at all and has just a 4% conversion rate. If you are eating a vegan or vegetarian (fish free) diet and not supplementing or you are just eating flax, even ground up, then you need to start supplementing marine based Omega 3 and with a decent DHA content of around 400mg per day though you should book in for a consultation if you want to know what your personal supplement amounts should be based on your personal needs inc. height and weight and symptoms. 

The dry weight of the brain is around 60% Omega 3 DHA. Children in particular need Omega 3 for their developing intelligence, learning and nervous system health. If you think you or your kids have ADHD, consider booking in for support as you may well be deficient in Omega 3 as well as other important fats like choline. People with dry skin conditions may have a deficiency in Omega 3 and equally low mood and depression can be associated with a lack of Omega 3.