A recent study published in the British Medical Journal, Open Heart, has been in the news lately, as it showed that a review of the evidence used to base dietary fat guidelines on did not actually support them. In other words, the UK national guidelines made as far back as 1983, that we should be swap eating saturated for unsaturated fat to cut the risk of heart disease and death had not been tested. But does this mean that we can go back to eating butter, sausages and full-fat dairy?
Well, no. The study may have shown that the guidelines were introduced before there was solid evidence to support them, but there have been many more studies since the 80’s, that demonstrate a link between a high intake of saturated fat and raised blood cholesterol. As having a high cholesterol level increases the risk of heart disease, dietary advice to limit your intake of saturated fats still remains while further studies investigating the role of dietary fact are needed.
So don’t go back to slathering on the butter again or filling up on highly processed foods. Instead, opt for a Mediterranean-style diet based on wholefoods, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, beans, pulses, wholegrains, unsaturated oils and fish. Although there is still some mystery as to why this diet has been found to promote a lower risk of heart disease and a healthy weight, what is not in dispute is that it does.
To read the study, go to: Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: a systematic review and meta-analysis