Protein is what we are all about.
In fact they are part of every cell of your body. Protein molecules are large and complex and consist of a long chain of amino acids, some of which are more important than others, but are all nevertheless needed to form a proper 'building block'.
To explain in a nutshell what happens when you eat protein -any kind of protein., the body splits the protein molecules into the amino acids and then fashions them into new proteins characteristic of the species and the function they are to serve in the body.
We do not only need protein for growth, but also for cell regeneration. To give an example : kids need a minimum of one ounce of pure protein per day; adults need about two ounces. Pregnant women even more.
Not all proteins are the same because of the different combination of the different amino acids.
If one amino acid is missing or only available in limited amounts, that may or may not be that important depending on the purpose. For instance an important amino acid for us is lysine. When all the lysine amino acids are used up, the rest is of no use to us whenever lysine is needed. It is like a mason running out of mortar: he may have lots of bricks left in all sorts of shapes and colours, without mortar he cannot continue building. We call that the first limiting amino acid. Regardless however which is the first limiting, any amino acid in short supply is going to cause the rest to be of less than optimum use.
In human beings about two dozen amino acids are needed for good nutrition, nine of which are considered essential, meaning they cannot be made from something else.
They are in alphabetical order, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalaline, threonine, tryptophane, and valine.
Some like to include arginine, which can be synthesized, but not always in the required amounts when for instance the system is under stress or undergoes a growth spurt.
Having established that there are different kids of proteins, we want to know which ones give us the best value for our buck, which proteins offer the widest possible spectrum of amino acids.
Animal proteins such as found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products are more varied than proteins found in vegetables.
This is of course not too difficult to understand, animal proteins are already at least one step removed from the vegetable matter (further up the chain, a bit more complex) and animal proteins are likely to resemble more closely proteins required in the human body..
However animal proteins come often at a price. Some , like dairy proteins, can be hard to convert, especially after pasteurization which kills the enzymes that come naturally with "raw" milk and other unpasteurized dairy products.
The good news is that although vegetable proteins may have a narrower range of amino acids, there is quite a variety of them and with proper care, selecting from a wide variety of vegetables and with proper knowledge of nutritional value, even complete vegetarians can achieve a healthy nutrional protein spectrum.
The only potential deficiency hazard for vegetarians could be Vit B12. Even that would probably only occur after several years of avoiding animal products, and remedied with a Vit Supplement. We think...the final verdict on this is not exactly in, because wegetarians seem more likely to suffer from a series of inflictions not seen as much in regular omnivores.
Good to Know
Proteins and Fats can be made into Carbohydrates(in fact glucose through gluconeogenesis) and used for energy. Proteins and Carbohydrates can be turned to Fats and deposited as such.
Neither Fats nor Carbohydrates can make Proteins.
Proteins are needed to build muscle, but proteins do not build muscle.
Exercise builds muscle and uses protein to do it.
The energy to exercise comes from the carbohydrates and indirectly from the stored fats The so-called brown adipose tissue BAT.
We also store carbohydrates as white fat. That kind of fat is for long term storage. How we access it and how we turn it into energy is still a matter of debate. A lot of work on this is done by several molecular biologists and bio chemists.
As mentioned, not all proteins are the same,but it also makes quite a nutritional difference in what package they come. If the package is meat, it may come loaded with animal fat. You may not need all of it.. In Free Range chickens and Grass/ Forage fed Beef this problem could be ameliorated by the fact that the meat is leaner and there is a higher content of healthy saturated fats, and unsaturated Omega3 fatty acids. When the animals are fed a lot grain, you end up with a lot of unhealthy polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). Yes, they used to be called the healthy fats. Alas nothing could be further from the truth and the cause of modern day misery (Metabolic Syndrome)
Eggs from chickens that have access to good greenery all day produce eggs that can be high in Omega3
As with everything, too much of a good thing is just that and can cause serious problems.
When proteins are broken down, several of those breakdown products are of no use and have to be removed from the system. If for some reason there is a glitsch in the removal, problems can arise.
Purines are normal breakdown products of certain proteins. In some medical conditions such as gout, this process is disturbed and one of the purines, uric acid causes painful arthritic problems in the joints.
These people should avoid foods that have a high purine yield, such as organ meats (liver, kidneys etc.) and anchovis, herring, scallops and sardines.
Carbohydrates: the fuel of life
Carbohydrates (Carbs) are the most abundant form of energy, and for most people provide the largest part of their diet. Which turns out to be not too good. Whereas it used to be ideally carbohydrates should constitute about 55% of your diet, with proteins supplying 15%, and fats about 30%., that is not exactly how scientists are seeing it today.
Some will go as far as limiting the carbohydrate intake to not more than 10% of your diet. A German doctor wrote a book : Leben ohne Brot. (Life without bread) available on Amazon.
Carbohydrates are all converted into sugars by our body. Some already come in the form of sugars, that's why we call them simple carbohydrates, starches are complex carbs and a third one is cellulose or fiber.
So we have Simple Carbs : Sugars ; glucose and fructose are monosaccharides while sucrose is a disaccharide (di = two)
sucrose consists of glucose and fructose
Complex Carbs : Starches ; they are the polysaccharides as arethe next, the fibers or cellulose.
Starches consist of two molecules amylose (20-25%) and amylopectin (75-80%); the latter is easily and quickly digested and cause dramatic rise in serum glucose Fibers or Cellulose
There are quite a number of different sugars, but we are here mainly concerned with three kinds;
sucrose (cane or beet sugar fructose (fruit sugar) lactose (milk sugar)
The starches we get mainly from our cereals, but also from our vegetables and fruits.
The third group, the cellulose, we cannot digest.They provide no calories, but are the roughage which help our foodstuffs move through the system. However if you have a choice between roughage and soluble fiber, choose soluble: it absorbs moisture and aids in removing cholesterol.
There is another problem with the bran.. The wild grains in order to protect themselves from the too eager foragers, developed a toxin that would repel the eater. These toxins are called Lectins and interact with the Leptin proteins and causing problems.
This apart from the problems caused by the sugars and the proteins in the form of gluten.
Carbohydrates are more readily utilized than proteins and fats, and simple carbohydrates even quicker.
They are turned into the simplest of sugars : glucose. Well..... it needs insulin to do that....lots of insulin..... you push this too far and you've a BIG problem : diabetes type 2
The glucose molecule is carried by the bloodstream to all the places in our body where energy is needed. If there is too much of it, it undergoes another transformation and stored as fat.
Sugar and refined carbs are turning out to be the real problematic part in our nutrition
A simple sugar like sucrose called a disaccharide , is turned into glucose and fructose.
Both sugars can be used for energy, but fructose takes a bit longer to turn into energy, thus less likely to produce the sugar "highs and lows".. Sugar found in honey is also a fructose. See also the link to Professor Lustig's video presentation on Sugar.
The reason that sugar is so closely linked to obesity has a fairly simple explanation.
The quick turn over of sugar into glucose and fructose means it is instantly available for energy. However, as mentioned above, cells only need so much for their regular activity, if there is too much extra available glucose it gets stored as fat to be used when there is need for it. Increasing activity (exercise etc.) will use up whatever sugar is available and after that it will use up the stored fat..
Most sugars that we are familiar with are either sucrose or fructose. Corn syrup for instance is a combination of glucose and fructose. Corn sugar or dextrose is a glucose commercially produced from corn starch. Because it is a glucose it goes straight into the bloodstream and unless you plan to do some extra exercise or are already starved for energy, most of it will end up as fat.
And that is alas not the end of the problem. In the cell, in the mitochondria energy is converted into cell energy (ATP) excess will cause the cytochromes (cell furnaces) to 'leak'. Most of this used by the cells by too much cause AGEs, and in the case of poyunsaturated fatty acids ALEs. Both are bad and cause serious health issues and aging of our system.
There are of course non-caloric sweeteners : Saccharin, Cyclamate, Aspartame (NutraSweet and sold as Equal), and the newest Acesulfame K Sunette)sold as Sweet One. All of them have come under ever closer scrutiny because of links to all sorts of health problems.
The safest course of action is still to stay away from commercially produced sweeteners, or use Stevia, a completely natural one.
If you have a sweet tooth, take the appropriate action and go around the block an extra time.
There are two kinds of dietary fibers : Soluble fibers and Insoluble.
Usually when people talk about fiber (dietary fiber), they mean the insoluble kind. It provides no calories but is of great importance for our digestive system. Dietary fiber affects our stool by drawing water into it making it softer and more bulky. Fiber also affects the transition time through our body as well as eliciting secretion of intestinal hormones and enzymes, which influence absorbtion of nutrients. This way, even though fiber has no nutritional value, it does affect nutrional intake. On top of that it gives a "full'" feeling, thereby curbing appetite.
Soluble fiber is getting more and more attention now that we are beginning to get a bit of an idea what they really do in our system.
It seems that soluble fiber has a positive effect on our cholesterol levels. It appears that high soluble fiber intake is related to lower coronary heart disease.
We find both soluble and insoluble fibers in cereals, fruits and vegetable. Fruits can be high in soluble fiber (think apples!!) and among the cereals oats ranks very high. Keep a safe distance though from the big boxes with the fancy titles. Regular rolled oats will do just as well and it is quite simple to prepare your own cinnamon (good for your heart), maple syrup, oatmeal breakfast. A handful of raisins is added quite quickly when you pour on the hot water.
Fats: the high octane fuel of life . . . . and Death ??
Fats have gotten a pretty bad rap and to some extent rightly so, but it is not all bad and certainly not unhealthy.
It is a good idea to keep a close watch on what is happening in this field. Modern researchers are more and more beginning to suspect that the bad guys are not the fats, but the carbohydrates. And if fats, probably polyunsaturated, and if polyunsaturated Omega6
More and more evidence is surfacing that glucose is showing up in places where it has no business and is causing serious problems.
It is beyond argument that we need fat
>It transports fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K throughout the body. >It cushions and protects internal organs. >Essential fatty acids (EFAs), benefit your heart, metabolism and immune system. >Some EFAs are used by the body for structural, hormonal and electrical functions rather than for energy. These EFAs increase metabolic rate and increase fat burn off resulting in loss of weight. >Fat is a concentrated source of energy
Fat is the most concentrated form of energy, giving us as much as twice the amount of calories per unit of weight than either proteins or carbohydrates. And it is often here that we get the math wrong.
Foods with a fat content of 20 to 30% such as certain cheeses and cold cuts, actually derive more than half their calories from fat.
When your cheese lists the fat content as 30% by weight, it actually gives you 73% in calories from the fat alone!!!
When you eat butter, you get 100% of your energy from the fat alone.
However Fat is not the only factor.
There are different types of fats, some of which are more healthy and others less so.
There areSaturated Fats and Unsaturated Fats.
The unsaturated are either mono unsaturated or polyunsaturated.
The "Hydrogenated Fats" or Transfats are or the two kind variety: man-made and naturally occurring.
Manmade: It is a process that makes oils solid at room temperature, which was necessary when creating margarines.The man-made transfats have received so much notoriety that they have pretty much disappeared from the Canadian table. One of the few places where we can still encounter transfats are in cookies and pastries and some ready-made stuff.
Generally speaking the more saturated a fat is, the more solid at room temperature. Think of lard and shortening and butter.
Some unsaturated fats (oils) will undergo a degree of hydrogenation when heated above their critical level. Olive oil for instance cannot handle very high temperatures and is therefore not a very good choice for cooking.
Canola can handle high temperatures a lot better.
Without going into too much detail, the fat story boils down to this:
monounsaturated fats (or fatty acids) are better than polyunsaturated, and the latter are not always better than saturated fats.
Yet, some of the polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids, meaning we need them and can't make them ourselves. Polyunsaturated fat includes a special family of essential fatty acids called omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Recent research highlights the link between high levels of omega-6 and heart problems. In addition, world expert on fats, Udo Erasmus recommends a significant reduction in omega-6 consumption, in favor of more omega-3. The general idea is to keep the ratio in the range of 1:2 (O3 -O6). It is thought to be because polyunsaturated fat is prone to oxidation, which leads to the generation of free radicals.Studies have shown that low dosages of Coenzyme Q10 reduce this oxidation.
Polyunsaturated fat can be found mostly in grain products, fish and sea food (herring, salmon, mackerel, halibut), soybeans, and fish oil.And further mayonnaise and soft margarine , but nutritional facts can vary by style and brand. Some margarines are enriched with Omega-3 but whether with or without, the safest way is avoid margarines altogether and if not, pick the highest Omega-3 you can afford. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, fish and seafood have been shown to lower the risk of heart attacks
Omega-6 fatty acids in sunflower oil and safflower oil also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but can contribute to allergies and inflammation due to oxidation, but as mentioned CoQ10 couldpossibly alleviate that. Nevertheless it is prudent to keep the intake of Omega-6 down
It appears that it might be quite justified that butter is making a come back after having been blamed for causing heartdisease, obesity and a score of other problems. Turns out the science behind was no science at all. http://www.lipidworld.com/content/7/1/31
Cholesterol: much maligned and still not fully understood
First let's dispell a Myth : There is no good and bad cholesterol! There is only cholesterol, a substance we need..
Basically it is a waxy substance that is part of all animal tissue, all meat and dairy products (egg white excepted).
Since we belong to the same kind of kingdom it is present everywhere in our bodies, where it plays a vital role in cell structure as well as in the construction of a number of hormones.
It is therefore not unusual that more than two thirds of all cholesterol is made by our own cells. Mainly in the liver. In fact, as soon as we are grown up, we can nicely do without any extra cholesterol at all. But it is important to understand that the cholesterol we eat has little impact on the cholesterol levels in our blood.
Trans and polyunsaturated fats are significant contributors to elevated cholesterol levels in the blood stream. Avoiding animal products may decrease the cholesterol levels in the body, but that has more to do with the diet that the animal was brought up on than anything else. Cattle fed a diet of high grain content are likely going to have an unbalanced fat ratio..
So what about VLDL, and LDL and HDL ??
Very Low Density Lipoproteins, Low Density Lipoproteins and High Density Lipoproteins are complex spherical particles which have an exterior whose outward-facing surface is water-soluble and inward-facing surface is fat-soluble.
Since cholesterol is insoluble in blood, it is transported in the circulatory system within these lipoproteins.
In fact there is a large range of lipoproteins within our blood, generally called, from larger to smaller size: chylomicrons, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), intermediate density lipoprotein (IDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). The cholesterol within all the various lipoproteins is identical.. No difference.
Cholesterol is transported towards peripheral tissues by the lipoproteins chylomicrons, very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Large numbers of small dense LDL (sdLDL) particles are strongly associated with the presence of atheromatous disease within the arteries. (atherosclerosis) (For this reason, LDL is referred to as "bad cholesterol".)
(HDL) particles transport cholesterol back to the liver for excretion in a process known as reverse cholesterol transport (RCT).or for recycling. Having large numbers of large HDL particles correlates with better health outcomes. In contrast, having small numbers of large HDL particles is independently associated with atheromatous disease progression within the arteries.
On the surface this reasoning seems quite straight forward, however it is not nearly as simple as it seems.
For one thing, LDL is invariably high when some form of inflammation is going on, when there is evidence of free radical activity. In short when there is a need for corrective action. It is for instance also the reason why in older people LDL is higher than in younger people : in older people there is more cell death, more garbage to get rid off, more effort needed to keep the system operational.
Conditions with elevated concentrations of oxidized LDL particles, especially "small dense LDL" (sdLDL) particles, are associated with atheroma formation in the walls of arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis, which is the principal cause of coronary heart disease and other forms of cardiovascular disease. In contrast, HDL particles (especially large HDL) have been identified as a mechanism by which cholesterol and inflammatory mediators can be removed from atheroma. Increased concentrations of HDL correlate with lower rates of atheroma progressions and even regression.
Increasing HDL and lowering LDL can be done by eating healthy and vigorous exercise. Suggestions are 2-3 hours per week.
In fact we are talking about aerobic exercise and a treadmill would probably your first choice because you can use it year-round and won't be hampered by inclement weather.
In 1956, an American Heart Association (AHA) fund-raiser aired on all three major networks. The MC interviewed, among others, Irving Page and Jeremiah Stamler of the AHA, and researcher Ancel Keys. Panelists presented the lipid hypothesis as the cause of the heart disease epidemic and launched the Prudent Diet, one in which corn oil, margarine, chicken and cold cereal replaced butter, lard, beef and eggs. But the television campaign was not an unqualified success because one of the panelists, Dr. Dudley White, disputed his colleagues at the AHA. Dr. White noted that heart disease in the form of myocardial infarction was nonexistent in 1900 when egg consumption was three times what it was in 1956 and when corn oil was unavailable. When pressed to support the Prudent Diet, Dr. White replied: "See here, I began my practice as a cardiologist in 1921 and I never saw an MI ( myocardial infarction )patient until 1928. Back in the MI free days before 1920, the fats were butter and lard and I think that we would all benefit from the kind of diet that we had at a time when no one had ever heard the word corn oil."
Scientific dishonesty is also blatently evident in the next:
Dr. Frederick Stare, head of Harvard University's Nutrition Department, encouraged the consumption of corn oil—up to one cup a day—in his syndicated column. In a promotional piece specifically for Procter and Gamble's Puritan oil, he cited two experiments and one clinical trial as showing that high blood cholesterol is associated with CHD. However, both experiments had nothing to do with CHD, and the clinical trial did not find that reducing blood cholesterol had any effect on CHD events. Later, Dr. William Castelli, Director of the Framingham Study (see also the by-line) was one of several specialists to endorse Puritan. Dr. Antonio Gotto, Jr., former AHA president, sent a letter promoting Puritan Oil to practicing physicians—printed on Baylor College of Medicine, The De Bakey Heart Center letterhead. The irony of Gotto's letter is that De Bakey, the famous heart surgeon, coauthored a 1964 study involving 1700 patients which also showed no definite correlation between serum cholesterol levels and the nature and extent of coronary artery disease. In other words, those with low cholesterol levels were just as likely to have blocked arteries as those with high cholesterol levels. But while studies like De Bakey's moldered in the basements of university libraries, the vegetable oil campaign took on increased bravado and audacity. !!!!
Dr. Walter Willett who has since taken over the Chair of the Nutrition Department at Harvard, is drastically changing the course:
"I think there's lots of blame to go around in this situation. First of all, the academic community has told people that they should do one thing -- say, avoid eggs, or eat lots of margarine -- when the evidence was really very minimal, in fact almost nonexistent in some situations",
"In some ways, we do have to credit the food industry with being responsive to what nutritionists were saying. They did believe or accepted the evidence that vegetable fats, vegetable oils, would be better than animal fats, and that really led to the development and promotion of the margarine industry and Crisco, baking fats that were made from vegetable oils. But they were made by a process called partial hydrogenation, which converts a liquid oil, say like soybean oil or corn oil, to something like margarine or vegetable shortening. As it turns out that was a very disastrous mistake, because in the process of partial hydrogenation, a totally new type of fat is formed called trans fat. The evidence has now become very clear that trans fat is far worse than saturated fat."
"Unfortunately, as a physician back in the 1980s, I was telling people that they should replace butter with margarine because it was cholesterol free, and professional organizations like the American Heart Association were telling us as physicians that we should be promoting this. In reality, there was never any evidence that these margarines, that were high in trans fat, were any better than butter, and as it turned out, they were actually far worse than butter."
"When we began our studies back in the late 1970s, we expected that we would find a relationship between, say, fat intake and breast cancer, because that was almost an accepted relationship. But as the data started coming in over the years, we just did not find any higher risk of breast cancer among women who consume more fat in the diet. And the same was true for colon cancer and for heart attacks and risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, the percentage of calories from fat in a diet has not been related to any important health outcome."
"...... nuts are really one of the neglected health foods on American grocery store shelves. They've been given a bad rap by nutritionists because they are high in fat. Most of the calories in nuts are from fat, but it's almost all healthy fats. And what we've seen, interestingly, study after study is that people who eat more nuts do not weigh more than people who don't eat nuts. And it's probably because even a small amount can be very satisfying, and we unconsciously replace other forms of calories with the nuts when we consume them. Now of course, you can overdo any good thing. So being a little bit sensible about that is important.
What's also useful is to think of nuts not as a sort of added on snack, but as a protein source. For example, I often have it with a salad and that combination is a good meal. And there's ways to put nuts into mixed dishes and casseroles and things like that. So with a little creativity, they can really be an important part of a diet and a very healthy part of a diet. (Walter Willett)
As an anecdotal follow-up :
My maternal grandparents were pretty poor and their diet consisted therefore of the cheaper foodstuffs: lots of bread, white as well as brown, lots of potatoes, white rice and of course homegrown veggies. They both died of colon cancer (early sixties and early eighties)
My paternal grandparents were fairly well off and ate lots of meat, and all kinds of fat. They fattened their own animals and the sausages were rich in fat with no additives. Butter instead of margarine and lots of eggs from their own chickens. They lived to a ripe old age with no ailments whatsoever..
In the 1940s and 1950s, researchers Yudkin and Lopez discovered a link between consumption of refined sugar and heart disease. Sugar consumption lowers the body's resistance to bacteria, viruses, and yeasts that may cause inflammation in both the heart and the arteries. Excess sugar leads to deficiencies in the entire B-vitamin complex, needed for healthy arteries. Ongoing research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that fructose may be even more dangerous than sugar. Fructose, mainly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), has become the sweetener of choice for soft drinks, condiments and many so-called health foods.
Also in the 1960s, a researcher named Annand discovered a correlation between the consumption of heated milk protein and a tendency to thrombosis — the formation of blood clots — and noted that the rise in coronary heart disease began in the 1920s with laws requiring milk pasteurization.
Researcher Kilmer McCulley has found a positive relationship between deficiencies in folic acid, B 6 and B l2 , and severity of hardening or stiffness of the arteries, as well as the buildup of pathogenic plaque. B 6 and B 12 are found almost exclusively in animal products — the very foods that proponents of the lipid hypothesis advise us to avoid. B 6 deficiency is also associated with hardening of the tendons leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Deficiencies of this heat-sensitive vitamin are widespread in America, partly because B 1 and B 2 added to white flour interfere with its proper use, and partly because it is destroyed during milk pasteurization. (Although pasteurization may help prevent foodborne illness, the process destroys nutrients.) Although McCulley's research has gained widespread, albeit grudging, recognition in the scientific community, it continues to lack appropriate funding and public recognition.
Vitamin C deficiency makes arterial walls more subject to inflammation and tearing. A diet rich in natural vitamin C complex helps maintain the integrity of both blood vessels and heart muscle. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen synthesis, along with copper, through the enzyme lysyl oxidase. Deficiencies occur in diets that lack fresh fruits and vegetables.
Heart disease has been correlated with mineral deficiencies. Coronary heart disease rates are lower in regions where drinking water is naturally rich in trace minerals, particularly magnesium, which acts as a natural anti-coagulant and aids potassium absorption, thereby preventing heartbeat irregularities. Mineral-rich water and soil also supply iodine, needed for a healthy thyroid gland. People with poor thyroid function are very prone to heart disease. Calcium also plays a role in protecting the heart and arteries. Potassium helps maintain proper blood pressure. Traditional meat broths are rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iodine. In America, these have largely been replaced by imitation broth products containing MSG and hydrolyzed protein.
The most important change in the American diet during the years of CHD increase has been the gradual substitution of vegetable fats for those of animal origin. Hydrogenated fats — in the form of margarine and shortening — have replaced butter and lard, while the consumption of vegetable oils has increased more than 10-fold. Since as early as 1956, a number of researchers have found that consumption of trans-fatty acids in hydrogenated oils contributes to heart disease, including most recently Mensink and Katan in the Netherlands, and Walter Willett at Harvard University (altough Katan remains a firm lipophobe : saturated fat causes heart problems)
But to be fair to prof Martijn Katan: at his retirement from the VU in Amsterdam he admitted we don't really know a whole lot about nutrition.
An excess of vegetable oils, even when not hydrogenated, seems to play a role in causing heart disease because they cause an imbalance in the production of prostaglandins, localized tissue hormones that play a role in all of the body's complex chemical processes; and because industrially processed vegetable oils contain free radicals that damage the arteries, thereby initiating plaque deposits. Too high in highly unstable Omega 6 pufa's
A recent study found that excess consumption of omega-6 fatty acids, the kind found in commercial vegetable oils made from corn, soy, safflower, and canola, increases the amount of oxidized cholesterol in the arterial plaque. Like sugar and white flour, these vegetable oils, produced by high temperature industrial processing, are new to the human diet. It is the polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids — not saturated fat — that form the major fat component of arterial plaque, yet for many years the American Heart Association and many establishment nutrition writers advocated consumption of polyunsaturated oils for the heart
The role of vitamin D in protecting against heart disease has been neglected. Vitamin D is essential for the intestinal absorption of many minerals, but particularly calcium and magnesium. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with defective calcification of the bones and pathogenic calcification of the arteries. Synthetic vitamin D added to milk has the same effect as vitamin D deficiency — it causes abnormal calcification of the soft tissues, particularly the blood vessels. Our bodies can manufacture vitamin D from cholesterol by the action of sunlight on the skin, but natural dietary sources give added protection. Vitamin D is found only in animal fats.
Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have anti-microbial effects and protect against the kind of viruses and bacteria that contribute to heart disease. Best sources of these helpful fats are the tropical oils, especially coconut oil, which have largely disappeared from the American food supply due to unfounded assertions that these healthy fats contribute to heart disease
And I really like the following explanation of the VLDL, LDL relationship. Plus in the process you get also an idea of why your carbs more so than your fats may very well be the source of all misery:
"........ what raises the LDL level? Eating too much fat, or cholesterol? The first problem here is that the cells lining the gut do not make, or release, LDL - they make other forms of lipoprotein. So, no matter what you eat, it can have no direct effect on LDL levels.
So where does LDL come from? LDL is, effectively, the shrunken form of a very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). VLDLs are made in the liver and used to transport fat and cholesterol from the liver to other cells around the body. As VLDLs lose fat they shrink, transforming into LDL.
This is from Dr Malcolm Kendrick is a medical doctor who has spent many years researching the causes of heart disease. He has been critical of the 'cholesterol hypothesis' for many years, and more of his writing on the area can be found on the website of the International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics.