This Study Says Saturated Fat Is OK. Ignore It.

According to a new study, we’re focusing on the wrong fat.

A review of past research just published in the medical journal BMJ found that eating a diet rich in saturated fat — found mostly in meat and full-fat dairy — is not linked to cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, type 2 diabetes or overall mortality in healthy adults.

By contrast, trans fat, which is found in processed food, was associated in the analysis with a 21 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease, a 28 percent increased risk of death by coronary heart disease and a 34 percent increase in death by any cause.

This latest paper marks the seventh meta-analysis in 10 years to show that saturated fat intake is not linked to chronic disease. So why are nutrition scientists still recommending that the nutrient be limited? According to experts, these study results don’t tell the whole story.

Saturated Fat Still Isn’t ‘Good’ For You

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which is tasked with advising the federal government on food policy, still recommends that Americans limit saturated fat intake to no more than 10 percent of daily calories in order to keep chronic illness at bay.

It turns out, there’s a good reason for that: Randomized trials, which provide stronger evidence of cause and effect, show that lowering saturated fat intake reduced the risk of a cardiovascular event by 17 percent. That’s because saturated fat is thought to raise LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, which can build up in your blood vessels and raise your risk of heart attack.

What’s more, saturated fat often keeps bad company. It’s very easy to find it in processed foods, explained Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of —> Read More