New Findings on Dietary Fats

FatsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

The theory that the consumption of saturated fats is linked to obesity and high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk has been the cornerstone of dietary guidelines for decades. As the message that saturated fats are simply “bad” for one’s health continues to be promoted by mainstream health organizations including the American Heart Association, more recent research suggests that this hypothesis was based on observational studies and has never been scientifically proven. Meta-analyses of numerous controlled and randomized controlled trials involving thousands of participants have found no statistically significant effects of dietary saturated fat reduction in regard to heart attacks, strokes or all-cause deaths.

The relationship between macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is confusing and controversial. As the low carb vs. low fat diet wars continue, there are many who would like to set the record straight. The results of a large multinational epidemiological cohort study recently published in The Lancet were welcomed by those who believe the current advice was based on flawed science, and denied by those who argue against the benefits of fat consumption. The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) Study involved over 200 investigators, who for seven years followed the dietary intake of 135,335 individuals aged 35-70 from 18 different countries.

So, why all the fuss? This study assessed the consumption of carbs and total fat; including saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats; to find associations with CVD and total mortality. Higher carbohydrate intake was associated with an increased risk of total mortality but not with the risk of CVD or CVD mortality. The intake of total fat and each type of fat was associated with a lower risk of total mortality, totally contradicting the dietary advice of the last four decades. Higher saturated fat intake was associated with a lower risk of stroke; and total fat, including saturated and unsaturated fats, was not significantly associated with risk of CVD mortality.

These findings indicate that:

  • High carbohydrate intake was linked to worse total mortality, and had the most adverse impact on CVD risk factors
  • High fat intake was linked to lower risk, and was not associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) or CVD mortality
  • Monounsaturated fats appeared to be most beneficial, while saturated fats were not harmful
  • Reducing saturated fat intake and replacing it with refined carbohydrates was linked to the most adverse effects on blood lipids and increased CVD risks
  • Three to four servings of combined plant foods, including fruits, vegetables and legumes, was associated with lower total mortality and non-cardiovascular mortality

While the study is ongoing, the findings to date do not support the current recommendations to restrict total fat intake to less than 30% of total daily caloric intake, and saturated fat to less than 10% of total energy. The conclusions indicated that individuals with a high carbohydrate intake above 60% of total energy consumption, would likely benefit from a reduction of carbohydrate intake and an increased fat and protein intake. In light of their findings, the researchers concluded that global dietary guideline recommendations restricting fats should be reconsidered.

 In recent years, multiple studies involving hundreds of thousands of people have reached the same conclusion. An editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concurs. The article published by a team of cardiologists from the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Switzerland cited reviews that show no association between intake of saturated fat and a greater risk for heart disease. The collaborative team stated, “It is time to shift the public health message in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease away from measuring serum lipids and the reduction of dietary saturated fat. 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.” They suggested these misconceptions may stem from “selective reporting of data.”

Even so, this study is unlikely to end the war on fat, as leading health organizations continue to tout a low-fat diet, and with the change of mind set required, it will take time before we see any new recommendations. In the meantime, individuals are free to draw their own conclusions, as they make their dietary choices. Those seeking optimal health through their diet might do well to remember that fats are not the enemy. It’s overall dietary patterns, not individual nutrients, that hold the key to good health. A better practice is to greatly reduce refined carbs and include whole foods, as well as healthful high fat foods, such as olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocado, and grass-fed meats, for a significant reduction of high total cholesterol and improvement in their high density lipoprotein (HDL) level.

With each new study, it appears that a complete lifestyle approach, encompassing a healthful diet, regular physical activity and stress reduction, will not only improve quality of life, but can reduce cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. These finding do not indicate approval to go overboard on fatty fried foods or commercially baked goods, but they do mean that you can enjoy eggs for breakfast, buttered whole grain toast and a bit of cream in your coffee without worry.

Professional Supplement Center provides these and other high quality oils in support of optimal health:

Dr. Ohhira's...Dr. Ohhira’s Essential Living Oils™ by Dr. Ohhira: This high quality vegan product provides a blend of eight cold pressed oils in an ideal balance of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids. As a healthy alternative to fish oil, these beneficial oils support healthy cell membrane function, optimal immune response, and the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

Essential OilsEssential Oils by Biospec™ Nutritionals: This specialized blend of essential fatty acids promotes a healthy balance of cellular eicosanoid production in support of optimum cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous system function. This formula includes plant based oils and molecularly distilled omega-3 fish oil.

Coconut OilCoconut Oil by Creative Bioscience: These 100% organic virgin coconut oil softgels provide healthy lauric acid in support of healthy weight, immune system enhancement and brain health. Gluten free, Non-GMO, cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil.

Coconut Oil, PremierCoconut Oil by Quantum Nutrition Labs: This easily digestible, raw and unrefined, vegan coconut oil provides an impressive source of essential fatty acids. Perfect for smoothies, salads, cooking and sautéing. Non-toxic packaging contains only gluten free, Non-GMO, virgin coconut oil.

Salmon OilSalmon Oil by Dr. Mercola: This 100% pure, virgin salmon oil provides a quality source of EPA and DHA omega-3 essential fatty acids, in support of brain function, heart health, and normal cholesterol levels. Formulated with astaxanthin for antioxidant support and mixed tocopherols to maintain freshness.

MCT OilMCT Oil by Jarrow Formulas®: This rapidly absorbed MCT oil is naturally sourced from coconuts and provides support for the brain and muscular system. All natural, odorless and 100% pure. Gluten, soy, wheat, dairy, fish and shellfish free.


Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study.
5 Studies on Saturated Fat – Time to Retire the Myth?
Saturated Fat: Not so Bad or Just Bad Science?
Artery-clogging saturated fat myth debunked.
The Low-Fat vs. Low-Carb Debate Has a New Answer.
Saturated Fat and Health: Recent Advances in Research.
Artery-clogging saturated fat myth debunked.



Sleep More – Weigh Less

SleepWeightJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Interestingly, one of the easiest weight maintenance rules to follow may be getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Mounting evidence shows that those struggling with weight gain may need to optimize their sleep schedules to see a more favorable number on the scale. It’s well known that controlled healthy eating and regular exercise are the top strategies for weight loss and maintenance. To avoid weight gain, prioritizing sleep may be considered an equally important approach, as inadequate sleep is associated with increased body weight and the risk for obesity. Matthew Walker, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley who studies the effects of sleep on weight, has found that “getting a full night’s sleep is one of the most under-appreciated factors contributing to healthy weight maintenance.”

It appears that our sleep habits directly affect diet and appetite. Researchers at the University of Chicago compared those who slept only four and one-half hours to those who slept eight hours. They found that the those who skimped on sleep did not skimp on calories the next day. In fact, quite the opposite. The short sleepers consumed an additional 400 calories and ate twice the amount of fat and protein, as compared to those who slept an optimal eight hours. Sleep deprivation results in blood alterations of certain lipids, as well as appetite regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin. Controlled studies have shown that deficient sleep leads to decreases in leptin, the satiety hormone, while ghrelin, the hunger and appetite hormone, increases. Recently, it has come to light that less than optimal sleep also results in changes to a lipid known as 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2AG), an endocannabinoid.

The endocannabinoid system is a unique and ubiquitous cell-signaling system that is just beginning to be understood. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the discovery of endocannabinoids has led to studies on their potential involvement in the physiological control of appetite and energy metabolism. The findings of three large multicenter clinical trials strongly support a pathogenic role of increased endocannabinoid activity in obesity and associated metabolic abnormalities. Studies support that endocannabinoids play a key role in memory, mood, and the brain reward systems, as well as glucose metabolism and energy balance.

Epidemiologic studies established the link between sleep deprivation and its influence on energy balance and body weight regulation processes. While a longer wake cycle results in a slight increase in energy expenditure, it can lead to disproportionate calorie consumption, decreased physical activity and weight gain. The possible involvement of reward system mechanisms may trigger increased unhealthy food intake following sleep restriction. A randomized study showed sleep restriction resulted in increased circulating concentrations of 2AG, widely expressed in the brain’s reward centers and in metabolic organs that stimulate food intake and fat lipogenesis, the metabolic formation of fat.

  • Habitual sleep loss is a major risk factor for weight gain and obesity. Generally, weight gain may occur when one gets fewer than seven hours of sleep nightly. When trying to lose or maintain weight, optimal amounts of healthy sleep may be just as crucial as diet and exercise.
  • Poor sleep causes a disruption of appetite, reward and stress hormones, resulting in increased appetite and negatively affecting the ability to make healthy food choices and control portion sizes.
  • Lack of sleep can result in daytime fatigue and deceased motivation to exercise. Sufficient healthy sleep helps to improve mental and physical performance.
  • Adequate sleep can refresh brain circuits that allow for more optimal food choices, leading to weight control rather than weight gain.
  • Just as inadequate sleep negatively affects energy levels, sufficient sleep can help provide the energy necessary for physical activity.
  • The right amount of sleep encourages proper stress and appetite hormone regulation, as well as a healthy metabolism, the amount of energy the body burns to maintain all cellular processes.
  • Adequate sleep, along with healthy diet and exercise, supports optimal health and decreased risk of developing obesity, diabetes type 2, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality products to support healthy sleep and weight maintenance:

Kavinace Ultra PMKavinace Ultra PM by NeuroScience™: This top-selling sleep product specifically targets neurotransmitter imbalances with a unique combination of neurotransmitter precursors, herbal ingredients and enzymatic cofactors that provide effective support for restful sleep. Gluten, soy, yeast and artificial ingredient free, vegetarian formulation.


Adipo-Leptin...Adipo-Leptin Benefits™ by DaVinci Laboratories of Vermont: This product offers evidence-based ingredients that support hormone balance relative to appetite and weight management. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


5HTP Supreme5-HTP Supreme™ by Designs for Health: This higher dosage product supplies vitamin B6 and 5-HTP in support of appetite control, reduced cravings, insomnia, improved mood and overall neurotransmitter metabolism. Wheat, soy, dairy and preservative free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation. This product is not recommended for those taking SSRI’s or MAO inhibitors.


Melatonin PR 3 mg...Melatonin PR 3 mg Prolonged Release by Douglas Laboratories: This natural hormone nutrient helps to regulate the sleep/wake cycle, supports normal immune function, and provides free radical protection. One serving provides 3 mg of pure pharmaceutical grade melatonin in a prolonged release tablet. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, sugar and artificial ingredient free vegan formulation.

Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain.
The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy.
Hungry for Sleep: A Role for Endocannabinoids?
Metabolic effects of sleep disruption, links to obesity and diabetes.
Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake and weight gain.
Does Your Sleeping Schedule Affect Your Metabolism?
Sleep restriction leads to increased activation of brain regions sensitive to food stimuli.



HERBATINT® – Featured Brand

HERBATINTSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Professional Supplement Center now carries HERBATINT®, a natural haircare line that has been restoring the health and beauty of hair for over 40 years. Founded in 1970, HERBATINT® is the main brand of Rome-based Antica Erboristeria, a company that specializes in ammonia-free hair color products. With a focus on producing innovative, high-quality balanced formulas, herbalist Michele Albergo utilized pure raw materials and select organic plant extracts to develop HERBATINT® hair color gels as a natural alternative to traditional chemical colorings.

As a Certified B Corporation®, HERBATINT® meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. Packaging utilizes materials from responsibly managed forests and is fully recyclable to reduce environmental impact. As Antica Erboristeria strongly supports animal rights causes, all HERBATINT® products are vegan and cruelty free.

To see the full range of permanent hair colors from HERBATINT®, please visit

Normalizing ShampooNormalizing Shampoo: Rich in aloe vera extract, this shampoo is specifically formulated for color treated, dry or damaged hair. The unique normalizing formula gently cleanses, moisturizes and restores hair’s natural pH balance. Normalizing Shampoo protects the scalp and supports color duration and intensity, as well as shiny healthy hair. Paraben and silicone free, vegan friendly formulation.

Royal Cream...Royal Cream Regenerating Conditioner: This intensive regenerating hair treatment deeply nourishes, restructures, and revitalizes dry, damaged, or color treated hair. Ingredients such as aloe vera, jojoba oil, wheat germ extracts, and essential fatty acids leave hair manageable and silky soft, while maintaining color intensity. Paraben and silicone free, vegan friendly formulation.

Permanent Haircolor...Permanent Hair Color Gel: Available in a variety of bright, rich colors, these permanent, yet gentle ammonia-free hair color gels provide 100% grey coverage and a highlight-rich end result. The formulas are enriched with eight organic herbal extracts to nourish and protect hair and scalp, preserve color intensity and provide natural long-lasting color. The vegan-friendly odorless formula is easy to mix and apply for a perfect color result in only 40 minutes.  Each kit provides up to two applications and contains Hair Color Gel, Glycol Developer, directions for coloring, and one pair of gloves for use during application. Mix only what you need and reclose the bottles to store for later use. Vibrant, exciting colors range from Platinum Blonde to Dark Chestnut and from Henna Red to Plum. Ammonia, paraben, alcohol and fragrance free. Dermatologist tested for sensitive skin.