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Saturated Fats Have No Link to Heart Disease

In February the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) submitted its 2015 Scientific Report1,2,3 to the US Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS).

This report serves as the foundation for the development of US dietary guidelines.

In a surprise twist, the DGAC not only suggested eliminating warnings about dietary cholesterol, it also reversed nearly four decades of nutrition policy by concluding that dietary fats have no impact on cardiovascular disease risk.

Unfortunately, the DGAC didn’t set the record straight with regards to saturated fats, as it makes no firm distinction between healthy saturated fats and decidedly unhealthy trans fats.

For decades, healthy fat and cholesterol have been wrongfully blamed for causing heart disease, but over 70 published studies overwhelmingly dispute this.4

Trans Fat, Not Saturated Fat, Raises Your Heart Disease Risk

Now we can add yet another large study to this ever-growing list. The meta-analysis5,6,7,8 published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found no association between high levels of saturated fat in the diet and heart disease.

Nor could they find an association between saturated fat consumption and other life-threatening diseases like stroke or type 2 diabetes.

However, the study DID find a disease link to trans fat consumption. As reported by Newsweek:9

“[C]onsumption of trans unsaturated fats found in everyday supermarket goods such as margarine, processed cakes, and microwave popcorn can increase the risk of death from coronary heart disease (CHD) by 28 percent.”

Trans fats also increased all-cause mortality by 34 percent. This is important because many “experts” frequently confuse trans fat with saturated fat intake.

Moreover, a pooled analysis of 11 studies10,11 showed that replacing saturated fat (found in foods like meat, egg yolks, dairy products, salmon, nuts, avocados, coconut oil, and olive oil) with monounsaturated fat (vegetable cooking oils12), or carbohydrates (sugars and grains) raised the risk of non-fatal heart attacks.

This prompted the authors to comment that dietary guidelines for saturated fats and trans fats “must carefully consider the effect of replacement nutrients.” This too is in line with previous findings.

 

Pre-order Ronnie's New Book, Coming February 11

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