The old fear of natural saturated fat (such as butter) has been on its way out for a long time. Repeated reviews of science have in recent years not shown any evidence that eating butter is anything but healthy. In Sweden (where I live) lots of people have understood this and sales of skim milk, low-fat margarine and other low-fat products have plummeted.
Here is another nail in the coffin for the fat-phobia and the low-fat hysteria. A review of previously unpublished (hidden) numbers from an older study shows that today’s margarines may not only be unnecessary. They may be directly harmful to the heart.
The study involved nearly 500 men with heart disease. Half of them were randomly assigned to increase polyunsaturated omega-6-fat intake, including in the form of margarine (similar to Promise light spread* in the US), and were advised to reduce saturated fat (such as butter). The other half was left alone and allowed to continue eating as before.
When the study was stopped after three years there were significantly more deaths in the group that consumed omega-6-rich margarine. The risk of dying during the study was elevated by a whopping 62%. Those who escaped counseling on margarine clearly lived longer.
Now it’s revealed that the risk of death from heart disease also was significantly elevated, by as much as 74%(!), in the group that was given margarine.
Good night, fat phobia
When you add this previously hidden disastrous result to all other studies that have been done, there isn’t the slightest evidence that omega-6-rich margarine is good for your heart. On the contrary: The numbers are very close to (p=0.06) showing a statistically significant harmful effect from this margarine. A probable increased risk of dying from heart disease as a result of consuming margarine instead of butter.
Adults can of course avoid buying the junk. But not all get to choose. Where I live potentially heart damaging omega-6-rich margarine is the only alternative allowed in many day care centers and schools, citing official fat-fearing dietary advice.
Time to wake up, official dietary guideline authorities?
- TIME: Omega-6 Fats Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Disease
- Dr John Briffa: New data from old study reveals that reducing saturated fat in favor of “vegetable” oils increases risk of heart attack and can have fatal consequences
From the British Medical Journal
- BMJ: Study raises questions about dietary fats and heart disease guidance
- BMJ: Old study sheds new light on the fatty acids and cardiovascular health debate
- BMJ: Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis
*/ Promise light spread contains 1900 mg of omega-6 and only 300 mg of omega-3 per serving.