Cardiovascular disease (CVD), continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide. Many patients with CVD have signs of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and those with CKD are often times disproportionately affected by CVD.
This interconnectedness was further explored in a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that identified a new immune target, suPAR, as a protein that causes kidney disease and atherosclerosis, the most common form of CVD. Unlike traditional approaches to treating CVD such as controlling blood pressure and lowering cholesterol, this breakthrough research offers a new approach to treatment from an entirely different perspective.
Continue reading “suPAR: A New Approach to Treating Cardiovascular Disease”
In December 2006, New York City became the first city to ban the use of artificial trans fats at all city restaurants, a mandate that went into effect in July 2008. Since that time, NYC’s trans fat ban has been looked upon as a unique health model that other major cities, including Washngton, D.C. and Philadelphia, have also considered implementing. Recently, the states of California and Illinois have moved forward with legislation that will eventually ban the use of artificial trans fat in all restaurants, cafes, and movie theaters (1).
As knowledge about the true nature of fats has expanded, saturated fat has actually been found to be a healthy source of nutrition and essential to the proper maintenance of many body systems (2). In contrast, trans fat, which was initially thought to be a healthy source of unsaturated fat, has instead been linked to several diseases, including coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease. This was not the given attitude even 20 years ago, when margarine was touted as healthy and lard was villainized.
Unsaturated fatty acids are found in two main configurations: trans (i.e., across) and cis (i.e., on the same side). These configurations are the result of carbon-carbon double bonds (C=C) within the skeleton of the molecule. Continue reading “Trans Fats—the Science behind the Story”
Walking through the grocery store, one can’t help but see the campaign against fat: low-fat yogurt, fat-free salad dressing and skim milk all play their roles. There are even fake-fat potato chips out there. From fat burners to fat blockers, it seems like fat, and especially saturated fat, is Public Enemy #1.
Most anti-fat crusaders state that it is not the monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat that is the problem; rather, the fault lies with our consumption of saturated fat. They consistently recommend eating foods that are high in the unsaturated fats, such as fish and olive oil, and avoiding saturated fat-laden foods like butter, pork, lard and coconut oil. While they may even agree that all fats are healthy, they also recommend that such “healthy” fats should constitute no more than 7–11% of our total calorie intake.
However, what is the real story behind saturated and other fat? Is fat really the weight-enhancing, heart disease-inducing, artery-clogging, cancer-causing, acne-generating villain we make it out to be? Will it ruin your health? Frankly, is fat really bad for you? Continue reading “Lard: It Does a Body Good!”