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According to William C. Roberts, the editor in chief of the American Journal of Cardiology, the only critical risk factor for atherosclerotic plaque buildup is cholesterol, specifically elevated LDL cholesterol in your blood. To drastically reduce LDL cholesterol levels, we need to drastically reduce our intake of three things: trans fat, which comes from processed foods and naturally from meat and dairy; saturated fat, found mainly in dairy and other animal products and junk foods; and dietary cholesterol, found exclusively in animal-derived foods, especially eggs.

Diets high in saturated fat don’t only increase our risk of heart disease. A study of three hundred Alzheimer’s patients, for instance, found that treating vascular risk factors, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, may even slow the progression of the disease but not stop it. That’s why prevention is the key. Cholesterol doesn’t just help generate atherosclerotic plaques within our brain arteries; it may help seed the amyloid plaques that riddle the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s victims. Cholesterol is a vital component of our cells, which is why our body makes all that we need. Consuming excess cholesterol, and especially trans and saturated fats, can raise our blood cholesterol level. Too much cholesterol in your blood is not only considered the primary risk factor for heart disease but is also unanimously recognized as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

The toxicity of saturated fats can be demonstrated directly. If we expose beta cells to saturated fat or to LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in a petri dish, the beta cells begin to die. The same effect is not observed with the monounsaturated fats concentrated in fatty plant foods, such as nuts. When you eat saturated fat, both insulin action and insulin secretion are impaired within hours. The more saturated fat you have in your blood, the higher your risk may be for developing type 2 diabetes.

The information on this page has been compiled from the research presented in the videos listed. Sources for each video can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab.

Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.

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