Saturated fat not as bad as previously thought

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Washington, Oct 2 (ANI): If you think saturated fat is responsible for cardiovascular disease (CVD), you need a reality check-new evidence has shown that saturated fat intake has a very limited impact on CVD risk.

World-renowned scientists specializing in fat research analysed 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.

"Diets inordinately high in fat and saturated fat are associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk in some individuals, assuming that saturated fat at any intake level is harmful is an over-simplification and not supported by scientific evidence," said J. Bruce German of the University of California.

Results from a research review conducted by Dariush Mozaffarian of the Harvard University 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.

"Carbohydrate intake has been intimately linked to metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of risk factors that can increase CVD risk," said Jeff Volek of the University of Connecticut.

His research showed that very low carbohydrate diets could favourably 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.

Kiran Musunuru of the Massachusetts General Hospital showed that low-carbohydrate diets appear to have beneficial lipoprotein effects in individuals with atherogenic dyslipidemia, compared to high-carbohydrate diets, whereas the content of saturated fat in the diet has no significant effect.

As long as saturated fat targets remain firmly rooted in dietary advice, nutrient-rich foods that contribute saturated fat to the diet, like full-fat dairy products, will continue to be unduly criticized regardless of their health benefits.

The findings were published in Lipids. (ANI)

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