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Researchers Question Previous Saturated Fat Advice

February 11, 2015
Public Health

butterA controversial new study published in the journal Open Heart has concluded that the advice given during the 70s and 80s to cut down on saturated fats to avoid heart problems was not based on scientific evidence.

Guidelines introduced in the UK in 1983 recommended cutting overall fat consumption to 30% of total intake, and saturated fats to 10%. Scientists led by Zoë Harcombe of the Institute of Clinical Exercise at the University of the West of Scotland studied data available at the time, finding that dietary advice was based on six studies involving 2,500 men which failed to link falling cholesterol levels with death rates from heart disease. The initial research didn’t include women, or the impact of the dietary recommendations themselves.

Public health experts now agree there is a link between dietary fat and heart disease, but as Dr Aseem Malhotra told the Daily Telegraph, concentration on one aspect of diet ignores the full picture. “The mantra that low fat is good for you is unhelpful. The scientific evidence is overwhelmingly showing that higher fat consumption than that recommended by the guidelines while also cutting out refined carbs, like sugar and white bread, is actually better for your weight and heart health,” he said. “What many people don’t realise is that there are many different types of saturated fats. Saturated fats from full fat yogurts and cheese, for example, may actually be beneficial and reduce the risk of certain types of diabetes.”

You can view the full study here