Pamela A. Popper Ph.D., N.D.

Wellness Forum Health

 No wonder people are confused about diet. The New York Times featured an article titled “Butter is Back” in which the author cited research showing that eating saturated fat does not increase the risk of heart disease.[1] Then the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reported in Feb 2015 that cholesterol was no longer “a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”[2] After looking at this information, a person might conclude that it is ok to eat as much as one wants of animal foods and not to worry about saturated fat and cholesterol.

On the other hand, Wellness Forum Health, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and many others continue to advise people to eat a diet very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. So who is right?

A new study that looked at the dietary habits of over 120,000 men and women from July 1980 to June 2012 showed that diets high in saturated fats were associated with higher mortality rates. Not surprisingly, the study showed that trans fat was linked to increased risk of both heart disease and cancer. The study also showed that reducing fat and increasing intake of highly processed carbohydrate foods (junk foods) is associated with an increased risk of death.[3]

According to Dr. Ian Johnson, at the Institute of Food Research, “Recently a number of books and opinion pieces have popularized the idea that conventional dietary advice has been shown to be wrong. There is nothing in these results consistent with the notion that “butter is back.”

We have archived thousands of studies supporting low-fat plant-based diets that minimize or eliminate saturated fat and cholesterol, and the positive effects of these diets on health and weight. We’ll add this recent study to our large and growing body of evidence. The bottom line – a diet low in fat, and particularly saturated fat, leads to better health outcomes.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/opinion/bittman-butter-is-back.html

[2] https://www.pcrm.org/media/news/physicians-committee-sues-usda-and-dhhs

[3] Wang D, Li Y, Chiuve S et al. “Association of Specific Dietary Fats With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality.” JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 05, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2417