Saturated fat goes mainstream

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Arguably the most influential cardiology journal, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), published a paper from Dr. Ron Krauss, Dr. Jeff Volek, Dr. Andrew Mente, and others. In it, the medical professionals call for a reassessment of the proposed “dangers” of eating saturated fat.

This is big. Really big.

“Whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, eggs, and dark chocolate are SFA-rich foods with a complex matrix that are not associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods,” the paper concludes.

Back in February, we wrote about a workshop with many of the same scientists. During this workshop, the clinicians concluded:

Meta-analyses of both adequately controlled randomized trials of saturated fatty acid reduction and observational studies have found no significant evidence for effects of dietary saturated fat intake on cardiovascular disease or total mortality.

This conclusion was big enough news to have esteemed mainstream scientists confirm that science does not support current guidelines that limit dietary saturated fat. But, for these scientists to then go further and have their paper published in the most mainstream journal, seems unprecedented.

Could this be a sign of a shifting tide?

The anti-saturated fat message is so deeply ingrained in medicine, and more specifically in cardiology, that I am not overly optimistic that beliefs will change quickly.

But articles, like this one published by the JACC, are crucial to help educate physicians about the evidence, or lack therefore, against saturated fats. Given that physicians have been misled for decades, it’s unlikely that their opinions on the matter will change overnight. But, for the sake of science and peoples’ health, we have to start somewhere.

As we have written before, large meta-analyses of saturated fat intake only find a minimal increased risk of heart disease with no difference in risk of dying. And this is without any of the nuances Dr. Krauss and colleagues call for.

Once you introduce the caveats of food-specific findings, the composition of the rest of a person’s diet, while also assessing small vs. large low-density lipoproteins (LDL — particles that transport lipids throughout the body), you can then see how the risk of saturated fat intake melts away.

This is the message we want to provide to more doctors, nurses, and nutritionists. This is the message we promote in our free CME course and in our evidence-based guide on saturated fat.

Please share them with your favorite clinician(s) today!

Thanks for reading,
Bret Scher, MD FACC

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