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A team of cardiologists are trying to put to rest a long-standing myth; one that claims that saturated fat clogs up the arteries and can result in coronary heart disease. A recent article collaboration by Dr. Aseem Malhotra (of Lister Hospital in Stevenage, United Kingdom), Prof. Rita Redberg (University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine) and Pascal Meier (University Hospital Geneva (Switzerland and University College London) are determined to change the public health message towards preventing and treating coronary artery disease.

According to the cardiologists, the way that heart disease is currently managed is similar to the practice of plumbing; with the key idea being that if you can ‘unclog a pipe’ you can treat the problem. This is not the case with coronary artery disease as Malhortra, Redberg, and Meier discovered when running a series of clinical trials which proved otherwise. What’s more, when a stent was inserted in an attempt to widen narrowed arteries, a patient’s risk of heart attack or death was not lowered.

The team feel that the public have been misled and have been getting the wrong idea from what they term “selective reporting of data.” They suggest that, “Decades of emphasis on the primacy of lowering plasma cholesterol, as if this was an end in itself and driving a market of ‘proven to lower cholesterol and ‘low fat’ foods and medications, has been misguided.”

How can the problem be fought then? Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women and it’s not helped by foods that have filler replacements for fat that are more often than not worse for you.

The researchers believe that a Mediterranean-style diet (high in anti-inflammatory compounds often found in extra-virgin olive oil, vegetables, oily fish, and nuts) is one way to help prevent heart disease. Not only this but consuming ‘real’ food and exercising, even if this is just walking for 22 minutes per day is the key to a healthier lifestyle and one in which the risk of suffering from coronary artery disease can be lowered.

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