High fat diets may support hearts after heart attack

A recent study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology concluded that eliminating or restricting fat could be unhealthy after suffering a heart attack or heart disease.

The researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that a diet high in fats actually improved the overall cardiac mechanical function, which affects its ability to pump blood continually. Fat also demonstrated an ability to boost cardiac insulin resistance.

According to Dr Margaret Chandler, who led the research team, “High fat feeding-induced alterations in gene expression related to energy metabolism and specific signaling pathways revealed promising targets through which high saturated fat potentially mediates cardioprotection.”

Chandler says that the new findings does not mean eating Big Macs after a heart attack is advised—quite the contrary. She says “treatments that act to provide sufficient energy to the heart and allow the heart to utilize or to maintain its normal metabolic profile may actually be advantageous.”

Excess fat in the diet has long been linked to a number of health risks—including heart disease—and led to a rise in a “fat-free” food craze that began several decades ago, which exposed people to a number of artificial food additives and chemicals with their own risks. While saturated and trans fats do pose a number of known health risks, healthy fats such as those found in nuts and seeds like almond, flax and hemp, and in fruits such as avocados and olives, have beneficial and even vital effects on multiple functions in the body.

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Photo: neil conway