Several researchers insist that saturated fats are implicated in cardiovascular disease. But there’s research that shows that these fats aren’t implicated in the disease, and that they can even reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It’s important to note that some saturated fats are beneficial, while others aren’t. A recently published study led by Dr. Marcia C de Oliveira Otto of the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, examined the effects of different saturated fats in over 5000 subjects. Results showed that saturated fats from dairy sources have protective effects against cardiovascular disease, while those from meat promote a higher risk of the disease. The study also showed that substituting a small amount of calories from meat saturated fats with calories from dairy saturated fats was associated with a 25% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
In a letter recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition
, Dr. Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD, highlights research that shows that saturated fats aren’t the culprit in heart disease. He stated that patients with heart disease didn’t ingest more saturated fats than healthy people.
Saturated fats protect from stroke and atherosclerosis
A recent meta-analysis of 21 studies on over 340 000 subjects showed that dietary saturated fats aren’t associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease. The study also showed trends towards a reduced risk of stroke with saturated fat ingestion. The study was led by Patty W Siri-Tarino of the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, California and published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Previous research also shows that there’s less progression of coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women with heart disease who ingest more saturated fats.
A balanced approach
Not all doctors agree with the results of the research on saturated fats. Although saturated fats might have beneficial cardiovascular effects, this isn’t a license to ingest huge quantities of these fats. You can have moderate quantities of saturated fats because these could have protective effects against stroke and atherosclerosis. Monounsaturated fats from olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats from fish such as salmon, are also required for good health. Hydrogenated fats must still be avoided and thus you should avoid products with trans fats.