Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

A heart attack (and probably also cancer)- preventing diet is low in 
saturated and partially hydrogenated fats, low in extracted oils and 
high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats as they are found 
in nature: in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, 
beans, seeds and nuts and little of everything else. 

There are two major categories called saturated and polyunsaturated 
fats. When you take in more calories than your body needs, saturated 
fats raise cholesterol and increase risk for heart attacks. (When 
you do not take in extra calories, saturated fats do not raise 
cholesterol. Saturated fats are broken down in your body into 
acetone units that are burned for energy and are harmless. However, 
if you take in more calories than you need, the extra calories are 
converted to cholesterol to cause heart attacks and strokes.) 
Therefore, limit foods rich in saturated fats such as meat, chicken, 
whole milk dairy products and eggs. 

The other type of fat is called polyunsaturated and is healthful as 
long as it is left in its natural state and is not converted to 
anything else by food manufacturers. It is found in abundance in all 
plants and their parts. Unsaturated fats are further classified into 
omega-3, omega-6 and more, depending on their chemical structure. 
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are particularly healthful because they 
help to prevent clotting and swelling that increase your risk for 
heart attacks and cancers. Omega-3 fats are found in deep-water 
fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds and vegetables. As long as 
polyunsaturated fats are left in their natural state, they are 
healthful, but when vegetable oils are removed from vegetables, they 
turn rancid rather quickly. So manufacturers use a chemical process 
that converts healthful polyunsaturated oils into cancer and heart 
attack-causing partially hydrogenated fats, also known as trans 
fats. Before 1940, the human body had never seen these fats and 
still doesn't know what to do with it. Partially hydrogenated fats 
have a long shelf life in the store and last a very long time in 
your body. We can tell how much partially hydrogenated fat you have 
eaten just by removing a bit of fat from your buttocks and analyzing 
its content. People who have high levels of partially hydrogenated 
fats in their bodies are at high risk for beast and prostate cancer 
and heart attacks. Those with low levels are at low risk. 

So: Restrict saturated fats in meat, chicken, diary products and 
eggs because you are probably eating too much food. Eat fruits, 
nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains and vegetables that are loaded with 
polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Eat nuts, seeds, whole 
grains, deep-water fish and shellfish for omega-3 fats that prevent 
cancers and heart attacks. Read labels on all prepared foods and 
avoid all that say partially hydrogenated, hydrogenated and trans 
fats that are associated with cancer and heart attacks.

Checked 5/3/07