Saturated fat is not a “major issue” in heart disease, a UK cardiologist has claimed.
Aseem Malhotra, writing in the British Medical Journal, said advice to reduce saturated fat had “paradoxically increased our cardiovascular risks”.
He said saturated fat intake had decreased in the US, but with little impact on obesity. This, he claimed, is because the food industry compensated by replacing saturated fats with sugar”.
Malhotra added recent studies had not supported a link between saturated fat intake and risk of heart disease. Instead, they claim, it has been found to be protective.
He said the government’s obsession with cholesterol levels had “led to the over-medication of millions of people with statins”.
Professor David Haslam, chairman of Britain’s National Obesity Forum, said: “It’s extremely naive of the public and the medical profession to imagine that a calorie of bread, a calorie of meat and a calorie of alcohol are all dealt in the same way by the amazingly complex systems of the body. The assumption has been made that increased fat in the bloodstream is caused by increased saturated fat in the diet, whereas modern scientific evidence is proving that refined carbohydrates and sugar in particular are actually the culprits.”
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. Plus added sugar causes all of the diseases associated with metabolic syndrome. Instead of lowering serum cholesterol with statins, which is dubious at best, how about serving up some real food?”