The Big "Fat" Surprise About Saturated Fat And Its Real Effects On CKD, Diabetics And Others At Risk

As you probably know, Diabetics and Chronic Kidney Disease patients are at an elevated risk of Heart Disease, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, and as a result of these complications even death. It is for this reason that one of the key food groups to limit in the Renal and Diabetic diets is the "artery clogging" Saturated Fat which has been linked to cause or worsen obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease/Failure. 

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Found in cheese, butter, and certain meats, the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that warnings about Saturated Fat are all wrong. Authors concluding, "Saturated fat does not cause heart disease." Nina Teicholz (Wall Street Journal Investigative journalist) took it one step further by bluntly writing, "The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that [saturated fat] causes disease." 

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This is a rather radical change to most patients' idea of healthy eating, right? Hence, let's take a look at recent research on Saturated Fats. In October 2013, cardiologist Aseem Malhotra made headlines after declaring that unprocessed Saturated Fat is good for you. There was no evidence that a high-fat diet caused heart attacks, obesity or diabetes. If anything, he found that consuming healthy fats like those found in grass-fed meat, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, salmon and avocados protect against the diseases. Malhotra wrote, "It is time to bust the myth of the role of Saturated Fat in heart disease and wind back the harms of dietary advice that has contributed to obesity."

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So what does this mean for those with Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes who are at high risk of Heart Disease and related comorbidities (two or more coexisting medical conditions)? Well, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine, it is not Saturated Fat that you should worry about, it’s the high-carbohydrate or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines.

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Here is what you should do: Talk to your Dietitian to make sure that you are appropriately limiting your carbohydrate and sugar intake, while also sharing this article and discussing whether you should increase your Saturated Fat intake to improve energy levels, skin health, and maintain a healthy weight. If you and your Healthcare Team decide to include more of these fats in your diet, reduce your intake of other kinds accordingly to prevent consuming too much of this nutrient. 

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"The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease." The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company.

"High-fat Low-carb Diet Stems Disease, Aids Weight Loss: Saturated Fat Is Healthy." Entertainment.

"What Are the Health Benefits of Saturated Fats?" LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.