Friday, June 13, 2014

Meta-study debunks myths about fat and cardiovascular disease


Nutrition is in turmoil. Old ideas are being challenged – such as meat, dairy and eggs are bad for your heart. The truth lies in the carbs.

More than 50 years ago, a positive relationship was noted between levels of LDL-cholesterol (the so-called “bad cholesterol”), dietary intake of saturated fat and coronary artery disease.Dairy products and meat abound in saturated fat. It seemed to make sense, therefore, for people to keep their LDL-cholesterol level as low as possible in order to reduce heart disease. Nutritional recommendations were made for everyone to eat less fat, particularly less saturated fat. It was also recommended that everyone limit their egg intake, since eggs contain a lot of cholesterol. There would be also another benefit from eating less fat. Fat contains twice as many calories per gram as protein and carbohydrate, so eating less fat should help prevent obesity.

These recommendations turned out to be unhelpful in preventing obesity, which has skyrocketed in the United States and many other places around the world, albeit for many reasons. But how effective were they in preventing cardiovascular disease?Surprisingly, nutrition scientists found it difficult to nail down their effectiveness. The most recent study to examine the influence of saturated fat on coronary artery disease was just published in the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine. 

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