I still see internet dieticians, nutritionists, and “pop docs” giving out tired, old, and just plain bad advice to cut all saturated fats from your diet. Haven’t they bothered to read any of the new research over the past year?
The latest study on saturated fat appeared in the prestigious British Medical Journal. It’s an excellent analysis. And it confirms what I’ve been saying for decades: Saturated fats do not cause Type II diabetes, heart attacks, or strokes.
Actually, I’ve been warning you from the beginning in my Daily Dispatch that the science against saturated fat was never really there. The U.S. government finally figured this out…and even admitted months ago that its decades-long “war” on saturated fats was all wrong, all along. So frankly, I have to wonder “what took them so long?”
For this new meta-analysis, researchers pooled the results of 12 different studies. All the men and women in the studies were healthy at the outset. But the studies followed the participants over many years and kept track of who developed a chronic disease and who did not. They relied on dietary surveys to learn what participants regularly ate over the course of many years.
Keep in mind, in studies conducted during the last 30 or 40 years, participants were well aware of the government’s bias against fats. They knew what they were told about the supposed harmful effects. And they faced social condemnation and guilt if they admitted to eating a lot of foods with saturated fat. So, typically, participants under-estimated and/or under-reported their intake of fats. But that fact only strengthens the lack of effect fats had on chronic diseases and mortality in this analysis.
A previous study called the “Seven Countries Study” suggested an association between saturated fat and mortality. However, when the researchers incorporated this data into the new meta-analysis, they found no association between fat intake and mortality overall.
And when it came to ischemic-type strokes, which result from cardiovascular disease, there was no association, trend, or any suggestive statistical finding whatsoever regarding fat intake.
Overall, the new meta-analysis found men and women who ate more fat reduced their stroke risk by 18 percent on average. And in Asian populations, men and women who ate more fat decreased their stroke risk by up to 30 percent.
Asian populations in general tend to have lower fat intake. This finding confirms what I’ve been saying all along: Not getting enough fat is a risk factor for poor health.
So–what about fat consumption and Type II diabetes?
Some researchers still believe there’s a connection. They say, theoretically, fat compromises insulin production. But previous trials tested this theory and found inconclusive results. And the new meta-analysis confirmed a link between higher intake of dairy products with saturated fats and a lower risk of Type II diabetes. So here again, higher intake of saturated fats appears to lower the risk of Type II diabetes.
The new meta-analysis did find a link between artificial, industrially produced trans fats and cardiovascular diseases.
Steer clear of trans fats and processed foods in general. Many countries have begun to phase out industrially produced trans fats. Indeed, the FDA intends to ban them completely in the U.S. in coming years.
The authors of the new meta-analysis also warned about the harmful health effects of replacing fat in the diet with carbs. As I always recommend, avoid sugars and carbs. Instead, eat organic butter, eggs, and meats, as well as wild-caught fish. And don’t worry so much about salt in natural food sources, either. But avoid processed, salty foods and use healthy spices to add flavor (and additional health benefits) to your food.
Following these simple guidelines, this fall (and always), you will have a harvest of good health.
- Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies,” BMJ 2015;351:h3978