09 September 2013

Dietary Fat and Health - Medical Review

An important review by NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information):

Dietary fats and health: dietary recommendations in the context of scientific evidence.
"[...] the evidence of dietary saturated fats increasing CAD [Coronary Artery Disease] or causing premature death was weak."
If saturated fat is not proven to cause heart disease, then something else most likely does. In the full text they discuss in detail what else can be the cause of Coronary Artery Disease. Of course, sugar and refined carbohydrates are a better bet.
"Several recent analyses indicate that SFAs [Saturated Fatty Acids], particularly in dairy products and coconut oil, can improve health." 
This means that saturated fat from animal products, like cheese and butter, etc. (coconut also contains large amounts of saturated fat) may improve health. This is quite the opposite of what is currently recommended by health authorities.
"The evidence of ω6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) [from vegetable oils] promoting inflammation and augmenting many diseases continues to grow, whereas ω3 PUFAs seem to counter these adverse effects."
There is more and more evidence that omega-6 fatty acids (from vegetable oils) have a harmful effect. I would like to give a bit more detail here. Some vegetable oils are advertised as healthy, because they also contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. This is the case of flax seed oil. It is true that they contain these healthy fatty acids. However, they are in the form of ALA (Alpha-Linoleic Acid). Human beings are not able to absorb this form of omega-3. We need DHA and EPA. So, when we consume ALA from vegetable oils, our body will try to transform it into DHA and EPA, but we are quite inefficient to perform this process. EPA and DHA are readily available in fatty fish and the fat tissues and organ meat of grass-fed animals. This means that the best option is to consume these animal products, rather than vegetable oils. (For even more details, please check here).
"The replacement of saturated fats in the diet with carbohydrates, especially sugars, has resulted in increased obesity and its associated health complications."
A diet low in fat, is obviously high in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates and sugar seem to be more harmful that saturated fat. 
"This review calls for a rational reevaluation of existing dietary recommendations that focus on minimizing dietary SFAs [Saturated Fatty Acids], for which mechanisms for adverse health effects are lacking."
Yes, current dietary recommendations need to be reviewed. If a theory is not supported by evidence, it might mean that the theory is wrong. With all the studies and trials existing today, the best they can say is that a high-saturated fat diet has no proof for negative health effect, then it means that saturated fat might not cause any harm, but quite the opposite.


  1. It seems so obvious to me that since we switched from fats to carbs the world has become fatter. So they tell us we aren't low fat enough and must try harder... and the world gets fatter.

    1. I agree... We are fatter than ever on a low-fat diet.