By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
On March 17, 2014 a group of international scientists published new research that confirms what I’ve been saying for years—that saturated fats are not the enemy when it comes to heart disease…In fact, the scientists found NO evidence that saturated fat consumption increases risk of cardiac events like heart attacks.
Now, I don’t want you to think that it’s okay to start eating food like that in the picture above, especially in unlimited amounts:
Why not? Well, the bun, for one, is full of simple carbohydrates that will cause your body to release lots of insulin to digest it. If you want a burger, make or order it without bread; if you can’t live without the bun, take just a bite or two of one of the halves. The burger, itself, isn’t bad; just make sure the portion size is less than the palm of your hand. Your best bet is to get organic beef or ground buffalo (organic standards guarantee you won’t get residual, preventative antibiotics and artificial hormones, or GMOs in your meat). If you like cheese, be sure to go with organic varieties for the same reasons.
I’m also not a big fan of bacon. Once in a while, a slab or two won’t kill you, but you don’t want to eat processed meat on a regular basis. Bacon also contains a lot of salt, which is problematic for people with high blood pressure.
Now, the onions, here, are great. They support healthy blood pressure, are loaded with antioxidants, flavonoids and contain a compound called allicin that can support healthy LDL cholesterol. A nutrient-packed topper to any sandwich!
As for sides, forget the potato or macaroni salads – they’re loaded with insulin-spiking carbohydrates. Definitely skip the French fries, which likely contain trans fats (very bad fats) as well as lots of carbs!
Were it my burger, I would make it organic beef, topped with sliced avocado, organic tomato, red onion, and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and serve it with a side of asparagus or other steamed veggies, a salad, or even fruit.
And, while I prefer olive oil on my vegetables (learn why), butter – a saturated fat – is much better for you than margarine or polyunsaturated oils like canola and corn oil. Again, go organic, when possible.
In a nutshell, saturated fats are okay, eaten in moderation and from organic sources.
- O’Connor, Anahad. “Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease Link.” NYTimes.com, March 18, 2014.
- Chowdhury R, Warnakula S, et. al. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids with Coronary Risk. Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(6):398-406-406. doi:10.7326/M13-1788.
© Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.