Cheeseburger in Paradise: The Link Between Fat and Heart Disease

Jimmy Buffett composed a hit song in 1978 about a cheeseburger that he called “heaven on earth with an onion slice.”  Most of the medical opinions since then have been steeped in warnings about the dangers of a high fat diet.  The general consensus from health experts back then was that a diet high in saturated and polyunsaturated fat was sure to cause heart disease.  That meant that if you added cheeseburgers to your diet you would probably find the emergency room before you found paradise.

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A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges conventional thinking on the health risks associated with saturated fat. This new study indicates that no evidence has been found that links eating saturated fat to increased cardiac events. The debate among health experts will certainly continue but, according to this new study, the notion that saturated fat is inherently bad for you is rooted in fallacy.

One thing that doctors and nutritionists generally agree on is that moderation is important.  Recent findings do not link saturated fat to heart issues, but that does not mean that you can eat all the steak, butter, and other foods that are rich in saturated fat that you want.  However, other kinds of fat pose serious health risks and can lead to obesity.  Research has shown that trans fat found in processed foods has been linked to heart-related complications.

Saturated fat may not directly cause a heart attack, but there are some foods that can help increase heart health.  Consider adding nuts, grains, fish, and extra virgin olive oil to your diet.  These foods have been clinically shown to reduce heart attacks and strokes when added to a balanced diet.

So, for now, go ahead and enjoy that cheeseburger in paradise, but remember to keep all things in moderation.

For more information on heart health, check out our cardiology guide and other resources on our website.

Further Reading

  • Did you know that heart disease is the number one silent killer in both men and women and the leading cause of death in the United States? That is why the month of February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease. It is important to know your risk factors, and to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent heart disease. Risk factors that we cannot change include age, family history, genetics, and ethnicity. The risk factors that can be managed successfully include diet, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, not smoking, and reducing stress. Prevention is the key to maintaining a healthy heart. can help you find cardiology doctors in your area.

  • While many models and actresses maintain their enviable looks with the help of a few nip and tuck procedures, some are completely against the idea of going under the knife. Former supermodel Jerry Hall has publicly criticized plastic surgery and says that women who do undergo different procedures are “monsters”.

  • If chocolate is the forbidden fruit of your diet, it may be time to reintroduce this tasty treat to your weekly menu. A recent study reported in the American Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that women who eat at least two chocolate bars every week have a 20 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who don’t eat any chocolate at all.