Saturated fats from butter, meat, sausages and bacon cause heart disease, right? Wrong. The standard health warnings have been misleading people for decades, a major new research study has concluded. The only 'bad' fats are the trans fats found in processed food and margarine.
And the polyunsaturated fats, found in oils and fatty fish, don't have any protective effect, say researchers from Cambridge University, who analysed 72 studies into heart health and diet, which involved more than 600,000 participants.
Their findings question almost every public warning on heart health. According to current thinking, too much saturated fat in the diet increases levels of cholesterol in the blood, which can clog the arteries and cause coronary heart disease.
But the Cambridge researchers could find absolutely no evidence to support the guidelines: the amount of saturated fat we eat has no impact on heart health.
The real villain is the trans fats, the artificial fats found in processed foods and margarine spreads. Refined carbohydrates, sugar and salt should also be avoided, said lead researcher Rajiv Chowdhury.
(Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2014; 160 (6): 398-406)