Dr Dingle's Blog / meat

Vegetable oils and margarine are no better than saturated animal fats for the heart.

Vegetable oils and margarine are no better than saturated animal fats for the heart.

More evidence from the best controlled randomised controlled trials found that replacing saturated fats with mostly vegetable-seed oils (n-6 PUFA) does not reduce coronary heart disease mortality or total mortality.

So why does the heart foundation continue to sell margarine and vegetable oils to the public?

A cornerstone of outdated dietary advice is the recommendation to reduce the intake of saturated fatty acids (SFA) as a means of reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). There are a few variations of this recommendation, these include: 1) advice to reduce the intake of SFA; 2) advice to replace SFA with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and mostly n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA); and 3) advice to replace SFA with mostly n-6 PUFA. It also recommends margarine and vegetable oils instead of butter and animal fats. However, the evidence for this recommendation has been questioned by recent a number of meta-analyses of observational studies and clinical trials. These studies have consistently found that the intake of SFA is not independently associated with the incidence of CHD.

Unfortunately, mega 6 oils such as corn, safflower, cottonseed, sunflower, and soya are now in nearly all our foods. Apart from the obvious consumption of vegetable oils and margarine you buy in the supermarket—which I hope you are now not going to buy—Omega 6 oils are hidden in most foods. You will find vegetable oils in just about every processed and semi-processed food including bread, cakes, and breakfast cereals and in lots of the plant-based drinks like almond or soya milk the main ingredient is often vegetable oil. All the takeaway foods, frozen and packaged dinners have Omega 6 oils. Even the “new” Mediterranean diet is laden with Omega 6 oils. When you buy olives, pesto sauce, sundried tomatoes or anything soaking in oil it is now vegetable oil in which it is soaked, not olive oil because vegetable oil is cheaper, unless you go to Italy where most foods are still soaked in olive oil. It is almost impossible to get away from the excess of Omega 6 oils. Time to read the labels! Factory produced eggs have 20 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3 compared to free-range eggs, which have a ratio of 1:1. Similarly, grain-fed beef (which I do not recommend you eat) has around 20:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 oils because the cows are fed grains rich in Omega 6 oils. Alpha linolenic acid is found in the grass and is converted into the important Omega 3 oils by the animals. It is found only in grass-fed animals. Grass-fed cows are also a lot less stressed and have as a result lower levels of inflammation.
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Men eat too much meat.

Men eat too much meat.

Men eat 57% more meat, more starchy-vegetables and less green vegetables than women. According to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey there is a big gender gap for eating habits. It appears meat is seen as more “manly”. Other misconceptions are plant based diets don’t have taste and of course the old one that they don’t have enough protein. While there are many misconceptions over meat and protein USA males consume about twice as much protein as they need to. There are also many top male athletes, sportsmen and bodybuilders who are vegetarian or vegan showing that the manly myth of meat just does not hold.

Interestingly while meat is associated with a number of health issues including prostate problems and cancer the lack of green vegetables and nutrient dense plant based foods is the major cause of high blood pressure and the associated erectile dysfunction. Erectile function is probably the most important personal display of manhood. So much for meat being a mans food. In fact to be manly you need to consume more vegetables just like mum used to tell us.

 

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