The Grapevine

The Truth About Saturated Fat Being Bad For The Heart

The American diet is rich in saturated fat: red meat, diary products, and baked goods, among other processed food. Doctors and nutritionists advise against consuming abundant saturated fat for they fear it could raise LDL cholesterol, which increases risk of cardiovascular diseases by forming blockages in our arteries. 

For this reason, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend keeping saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories. A recent meta-analysis of 130 papers published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology seeks to reason out the need to remove the limit on calories obtained from saturated fatty acid. This comes out just prior to the revision of guidelines to better inform decison-makers of the dietary advisory that's updated every five years. 

As per the research, there is no evidence to suggest an upper-limit on saturated fat intake helps the U.S. population ward off heart disease in any way. The study conducted by 10 academicians looked at both observational studies and randomized controlled trials. “The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods,” they said.  

According to this latest study’s findings, large and buoyant LDL particles are not bad for heart health. It’s the smaller, denser particles that increase disease-risk, which is not raised by saturated fat intake.  

“Different SFAs have different biologic effects, which are further modified by the food matrix and the carbohydrate content of the diet,” the researchers explained. “Several foods relatively rich in SFAs, such as whole-fat dairy, dark chocolate and unprocessed meat, are not associated with increased CVD or diabetes risk,” the researchers added further. 

Take, for instance, yogurt and cheese that also have protein, minerals, and other components that aid good health. Yogurt and cheese also have probiotics, short-chain fatty acids, vitamin K2 and bioactive peptides. “The complex matrix and components of dairy may explain why the effect of dairy food consumption on CVD cannot be explained and predicted by its content in SFA,” the researchers explained in the study. 

Over the years, studies have examined the effect of egg intake on heart disease. Most of them say that egg consumption has no impact on coronary heart diseases whatsoever. However, some studies have found that egg consumption could, in fact, lower risk of stroke.   

“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 author Tom Brenna, Ph.D., professor of Human Nutrition and Pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin, said in an article.

Saturated Fat Saturated fat in your diet need necessarily increase heart health, a new meta-analysis finds. Scott Henderson, CC by 2.0

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