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No Need to Avoid Saturated Fat for Heart Health, Researchers Say

By HERWriter
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you don't have to avoid saturated fat to protect heart health Auremar/PhotoSpin

For decades, we've been told not to eat saturated fat. We were warned that saturated fat consumption would lead to heart disease, poor health and an untimely death. But leading U.S. cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy Dr. James DiNicolantonio says this just isn't the case.

In a March 5, 2014 article, he said that avoiding saturated fat and eating more carbohydrates and omega 6-rich polyunsaturated fats does not have the health benefits previously thought and that research does not substantiate the belief that such a diet will reduce heart disease or result in longer life.

DiNicolantonio said that this inaccurate view surfaced in a study in 1952, which ignored information from 16 countries and relied solely on data from only six countries. He said that large observational studies have not proven that risk for cardiovascular disease is decreased by eating low fat.

The reality he said, is that refined carbohydrates are responsible for much of the obesity and diabetes increase that has overtaken the United States.

DiNicolantonio said that recently analyzed published trial data has indicated that replacing saturated and trans fats with more omega-6 essential fatty acids without increasing consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, causes an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

In an editorial in the journal Open Heart he said, "We need a public health campaign as strong as the one we had in the 70s and 80s demonising saturated fats, to say that we got it wrong."

He recommended a diet that has less in the way of processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugar. He advised that people who have had a heart attack steer clear of both refined carbohydrates and omega-6 fatty acids, and include saturated fats in their diets instead.

Other research that was published on March 18, 2014 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine also does not support limiting saturated fatty acids and increasing polyunsaturated fats, in order to decrease the incidence of coronary heart disease.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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