A new study published in the prestigious journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine found no evidence to support that minimizing consumption of saturated fats lowers the risk of heart diseases.
An international team of experts on heart disease and diet, including five cardiologists, reviewed dietary guidelines for people with familial hypercholesterolemia. They say they couldn’t find any justification for health experts to recommend a low saturated fat diet.
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder that causes people to have cholesterol levels 2-4 times higher than the average person.
“For the past 80 years, people with familial hypercholesterolemia have been told to lower their cholesterol with a low saturated fat diet,” said lead author David Diamond, professor and heart disease researcher at the University of South Florida. “Our study showed that a more ‘heart healthy’ diet is one low in sugar, not saturated fat.”
Diamond and his co-authors say following a low-carb diet is most effective for people at increased risk of heart disease, such as those who are overweight, hypertensive and diabetic.
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Their findings are consistent with another paper recently published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology,” which provided strong evidence that food that raises blood sugar, such as bread, potatoes and sweets, should be minimized, rather than tropical oils and animal-based food.
Summing up meta-analyses and other studies that include hundreds of thousands of people, the study concluded that reducing foods rich in saturated fatty acids doesn’t reduce risk of cardiovascular disease or death from any cause. On the contrary, some research suggested that there was a lower risk of stroke with a higher consumption of saturated fat.
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“Among foods that are usually called ‘saturated fats,’ some are healthy and some are not, so that the amount of saturated fatty acids (SFA) in a food is not a good predictor as to whether it is healthy,” study researcher Tom Brenna, Ph.D., professor of Human Nutrition and Pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin, said.