For 40 years now, we’ve been told that we need to restrict salt. Another verse in the gospel of government guidelines is the importance of lowering saturated fat consumption. But just like the Great Salt Scam, the science to support it is shaky (like that salt shaker), at best.
These saturated fat dietary recommendations are intended to reduce heart disease risk. The problem is, actual evidence does not support a strong link between total saturated fat intake and the occurrence of heart disease events. And the government’s efforts to have people restrict their fat intake has completely backfired anyway!
But after years of ignoring the lack of proof, some scientists are finally attempting to cut a little deeper into the saturated fat issue.
In a new study, researchers attempted to determine how different food sources of saturated fat impact heart risk. They enrolled over 5,000 participants between ages 45-84. Each participant’s diet was assessed using a 120-item food-frequency questionnaire (which, keep in mind, is a research method with limited validity).
Over the course of 10 years, there were 316 cases of heart disease events. But how did saturated fat factor into these results?
The researchers didn’t find ANY associations between saturated fats from plants and heart risk. But they did determine that a higher intake of saturated fat from meat was associated with greater heart disease risk. In contrast, a higher intake of saturated fat from dairy was actually associated with lower heart disease risk.
Even more interesting—one small, simple substitution made a big difference in disease risk. Replacing just 2% of the calories a person might normally get from saturated fat in meat with dairy sources led to a 25% lower risk of heart disease.
These researchers don’t seem to know what to make of these results. After all, their findings completely upend the mainstream dogma that “all saturated fat is bad.”
But rather than admit their whole belief system has been flawed from the beginning, the researchers took the easy way out. And simply concluded that the effects these foods have on health may depend on more factors than simply their saturated fat content.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Fat is not the “public enemy number one” it’s been made out to be.
Focusing on any ONE factor in foods is pointless. And just counting calories, blindly just cutting fats, and pinning your hopes on hyped-up supplements will never work.
But eating the right foods will always help. And not just your heart, but every aspect of your health. For more information on the best foods Nature has to offer, learn how to get my free report The Top of the Food Chain Cure for Obesity.
“Dietary intake of saturated fat by food source and incident cardiovascular disease: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis” Am J Clin Nutr 2012; July 3 (epub ahead of print)