You may have been following the stories on TV and in the newspapers over the last year or so, that saturated fat – the fat in meat, eggs and full cream dairy including butter – isn’t bad for you after all, so go for it!
Just what we wanted to hear.
Best not to rush back to a high saturated fat diet though, because the research that has given saturated fats the green light has been found to be flawed. There are, in fact, decades of studies, which have shown that saturated fats increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and even bowel cancer. That’s made experts wonder how some researchers have concluded that lowering saturated fat intake doesn’t help your chances of heart disease? So they went back to studies of several hundred thousand nurses and doctors whose health has been followed since the 1980s and what they found was fascinating. What counted was what people replaced saturated fats with in their diet.
People who traded the fatty steak or butter for pasta, white rice or sugary foods – refined carbohydrates – got no benefit. That’s because refined carbs in excess aren’t good for you. If however, the trade off was for unprocessed or complex carbs or oils like olive or canola (mono and polyunsaturated fats), then they did see the expected reduction in heart disease.
So it’s about trade offs and saturated fat is toxic after all. Sorry about that, you butter addicts.