October 05, 2010
Saturated Fat Heart Harm Questioned

Comic characters in Sleeper proclaiming the benefits of "deep fat" are now known to be prophetic.

(Rosemont, IL) Oct. 1 For the past three decades, saturated fat has been considered a major culprit of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and as a result dietary advice persists in recommending reduced consumption of this macronutrient. However, new evidence shows that saturated fat intake has only a very limited impact on CVD risk -- causing many to rethink the "saturated fat is bad" paradigm.

A series of research articles published in the October issue of Lipids provides a snapshot of recent advances in saturated fat and health research, based on science presented at the 100th American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS) annual meeting in Orlando, Florida (May 2009). During a symposium entitled "Saturated Fats and Health: Facts and Feelings," world-renowned scientists specializing in fat research analyzed the evidence between saturated fat intake and health, and overall agreed upon the need to reduce over-simplification when it came to saturated fat dietary advice.

Deep fat is better than refined carbohydrates.

Results from a research review conducted by Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, MPH, Department of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard University School of Public Health, found that the effects of saturated fat intake on CVD risk depend upon simultaneous changes in other nutrients. For example, replacing saturated fat with mono-unsaturated fat yielded uncertain effects on CVD risk, while replacing saturated fat with carbohydrates was found to be ineffective and even harmful especially when refined carbohydrates such as starches or sugars were used in place of fat . Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat gave a small reduction in CVD risk, but even with optimal replacement the magnitude of the benefit was very small. According to Mozaffarian it would be far better to focus on dietary factors giving much larger benefits for CVD health, such as increasing intake of seafood/omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and decreasing intake of trans fats and sodium.

''Carbohydrate intake has been intimately linked to metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of risk factors that can increase CVD risk,'' said Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut. His research showed that very low carbohydrate diets can favorably impact a broad spectrum of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk factors, even in the presence of high saturated fat intake and in the absence of weight loss.

These researchers seem to be getting closer to the Paleo Diet.

Would you believe that dairy is actually associated with a decrease in cardiovascular disease risk?

A recent meta-analysis of epidemiological and intervention studies of milk fat conducted by Peter Elwood, DSc, MD, FRCP, FFPHM, DUniv, Hon DSc, Honorary Professor at the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, found that milk and dairy consumption actually was associated with a decrease in CVD risk .

Deep fat.

Oh, and if the fudge is made with very dark chocolate or cocoa powder then that's healthy too.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 October 05 10:08 PM  Aging Diet Heart Studies

Tuck said at October 6, 2010 4:35 AM:

And what are the implications for the US Dietary Guidelines? Not good...


Fat Man said at October 6, 2010 7:51 AM:

Bring back McDonald's fries in tallow.

Bruce said at October 6, 2010 8:09 PM:

The obesity epidemic took off when low fat and margarine became the dieticians mantra.

Before that people ate meat. And potatoes. And butter. And then the dieticians tried to kill us all.

Randall Parker said at October 7, 2010 5:28 PM:


It sure looks like the experts were enormously wrong.

What I'm thinking: the level of game played experts in different fields varies enormously. In some fields the experts absolutely know what they are talking about. In other fields the experts are dangerous. It is essential to figure out what the deal is for each field.

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