May 2, 2017
New research reveals that consuming high levels of four major saturated fats – such as those found in butter, lard, red meat, dairy fat, and palm oil – may raise the risk of coronary heart disease. However, replacing just 1 percent of them with healthier fats, nuts, whole grains, and plant proteins appears to reduce the risk by up to 8 percent.
Research suggests coronary heart disease arises when certain factors damage the lining of the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the muscles of the heart. These factors include smoking, high levels of cholesterol and certain fats in the blood, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar – such as from diabetes or insulin resistance.
Fatty deposits called plaque begin to accumulate at the site of damage. This can start in childhood. As the plaque builds up, it can harden and break open. Hardened plaque restricts blood flow and can lead to angina (chest pain or discomfort). Ruptured plaque gives rise to blood clots that further narrow the arteries and worsen angina. If a clot is big enough, it can completely or nearly completely block a coronary artery, causing a heart attack.