Saturated Fat: the Advice and the Science

Saturated fat

Is the advice to eat less saturated fat based on any good science? Well, not necessarily according to this fantastic new review:

Nutrition: Saturated fat and cardiovascular disease: The discrepancy between the scientific literature and dietary advice

The article analyzes the references for three sources of dietary guidelines: USDA, IOM and EFSA. They all recommend avoiding saturated fat. But they need all their imagination to find the science to back it up: 

Lots of embarrassment

I recommend the article above, it’s an amusing read. I particularly liked how the USDA refers to Jacobsen at al, a pooled analysis of 11 cohort trials, and its finding that eating more carbohydrates (like bread) or monounsaturated fat (like olive oil) instead of saturated fat (like butter) actually seem to increase the risk of heart disease.

To put this embarrassing finding “in perspective” they referred to another observational study that found the opposite correlation. The only problem? That study was actually an outdated version of one of the 11 studies pooled in Jacobsen et al. In other words, they chose to believe in one old study, instead of 11 studies combined – including a newer version of that same study!

More embarrassment in the Nutrition article.

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