Could a high-fat diet be good for your heart?
Doctors say it’s now time to scrap the myth of the role of saturated fat contributing to heart disease.
Recent studies show no link between saturated fat intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, with saturated fat actually found to be protective, he said.
One of the earliest obesity experiments published in 1956, comparing groups on diets of 90 per cent fat, 90 per cent protein and 90 per cent carbohydrate revealed the greatest weight loss was among those eating the most fat.
Professor David Haslam, of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘The assumption has been made that increased fat in the bloodstream is caused by increased saturated fat in the diet?…?modern scientific evidence is proving that refined carbohydrates and sugar in particular are actually the culprits’.
Another US study showed a ‘low fat’ diet was worse for health than one which was low in carbs, such as potatoes, pasta and bread.
Dr Malhotra said obesity has ‘rocketed’ in the US despite a big drop in calories consumed from fat.
‘One reason’ he said ‘when you take the fat out, the food tastes worse’.
The food industry compensated by replacing saturated fat with added sugar but evidence is mounting that sugar is a ‘possible independent risk factor’ for metabolic syndrome which can in turn lead to diabetes.
But why has there been no demonstrable effect on heart disease trends when eight million Britons are being prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, he asked.
Adopting a Mediterranean diet – olive oil, nuts, oily fish, plenty of fruit and vegetables and a moderate amount of red wine – after a heart attack is almost three times as effective in reducing mortality as taking a statin, writes Dr Malhotra.
Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower rates of cholesterol in the blood.
Dr Malhrotra said ‘The greatest improvements in morbidity and mortality have been due not to personal responsibility but rather to public health’.
‘It is time to bust the myth of the role of saturated in heart disease and wind back the harms of dietary advice that has contributed to obesity’.
Dr Malcolm Kendrick, a GP and author of The Great Cholesterol Con, said Sweden had become the first western nation to develop national dietary guidelines that rejected the low-fat myth, in favour of low-carb high-fat nutrition advice.
He said ‘Around the world, the tide is turning, and science is overturning anti-fat dogma.’
‘Recently, the Swedish Council on Health Technology assessment has admitted that a high fat diet improves blood sugar levels, reduces triglycerides improves ‘good’ cholesterol – all signs of insulin resistance, the underlying cause of diabetes – and has nothing but beneficial effects, including assisting in weight loss.
‘Aseem Malhotra is to be congratulated for stating the truth that has been suppressed for the last forty years’ he added.
Professor Robert Lustig, Paediatric Endocrinologist, University of San Francisco said ‘Food should confer wellness, not illness. And real food does just that, including saturated fat.
‘But when saturated fat got mixed up with the high sugar added to processed food in the second half of the 20th century, it got a bad name. Which is worse, the saturated fat or the added sugar?
‘The American Heart Association has weighed in the sugar many times over. Instead of lowering serum cholesterol with statins, which is dubious at best, how about serving up some real food?’
Cholesterol can also be reduced by eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and doing regular physical activity.
What are your thoughts surrounding this new advice from medical experts?