Saturated Fats Not Linked to Heart Disease

Saturated fats get a bad rap, but a new analysis of previously published studies has failed to find any clear link between how much saturated fat you eat, and the risk of developing heart disease.

Research has shown that eating foods high in saturated fat can increase levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Since high levels of LDL cholesterol are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, experts have generally recommend a limited intake of foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, dairy, and butter.

However, contrary to what was previously believed, in the new analysis researchers could find no obvious evidence that higher saturated fat intakes resulted in higher risks of heart disease or stroke. While the findings may sound promising to steak lovers, in an interview with Reuters Health, American Heart Association past president Dr. Robert Eckel cautioned against over interpreting the results.

He noted that saturated fat can raise people’s cholesterol, and the new analysis is not going to change recommendations to keep saturated fat intake in check. The best thing to do, says Dr. Eckel, is to take the focus away from single nutrients and instead focus on healthy dietary patterns. According to the American Heart Association, so-called “prudent” diets that are high in fruits, vegetables, fish and unsaturated fats from vegetable oil may help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

As for cheeseburgers and pizza – experts recommend all good things in moderation.

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