The first time I heard about the cholesterol/saturated fat connection was in December 1993. My doctor ran a lipid panel which revealed, my total cholesterol to be 399. My doctor gave me 90 days to get it under control, before he would prescribe medication.
I cut back on red meat and junk food, while increasing whole grains, vegetables and fruits. The changes paid off. My numbers dropped 120 points to 270. In my excitement I began reverting to old eating patterns. Two months later my total cholesterol was up again to 360.
When going over my diet with my physician, I realized that I was once again eating lots of potato chips. Often I would eat a six ounce bag daily. The doctor told me that even though potato chips themselves did not have cholesterol, they had unhealthy saturated fat, which raised cholesterol.
During the time my cholesterol dropped I was not eating any potato chips or processed snacks. For this reason, I believe there is a connection, between saturated fat and cholesterol. A recent study however, indicates otherwise.
Chris Kresser, of Health for the 21st Century believes that saturated fat does not play a major role in elevated cholesterol levels, for all people. Kresser acknowledges, that some studies validate that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels. He points out however, that in most cases, these studies are are short-term, usually only a few weeks.
Kessler says longer-term studies have not shown a connection between saturated fat intake and blood cholesterol levels. He goes on to say, that only long term study indicated a clear association between saturated fat intake and cholesterol levels. He adds however, that this association happened to be weak.
Dr. Anthony Mercola, sings the praises of what he believes to be the heart healthy benefits of saturated fat in the diet. And lists 7 reasons why saturated fat is necessary. He also believes the public has been misinformed.
In my opinion, the bottom line to all this seemingly conflicting information is that we are all individuals, whose bodies do not function in the same manner. While saturated fat is a factor in elevated cholesterol for myself and millions of others, it is not a factor for everyone.