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Friday, 3 February 2012

Saturated Fat: Friend, Foe or Neutral?

This is a must read article by William R. Ware, Ph.D Emeritus Professor of Chemistry University of Western Ontario.
The standard guidelines regarding risk and prevention of CVD and diabetes contain the recommendation to decrease fat intake and in particular the intake of saturated fat. Resérus, Willett and Hu11 conclude that more controlled long-term studies with sufficient power are needed to identify the optimal dietary fatty acid composition to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. But since type 2 diabetes is strongly related to insulin resistance, the small or absent effect of saturated fat on insulin resistance appears to agree with the epidemiologic studies which failed to find an association with diabetes. One can in fact argue without much risk of appearing dull that it might be better to focus on carbohydrates rather than fats. Diets high in refined carbohydrates are disastrous if judged by their effect on HDL and triglycerides, insulin resistance and inflammation.
This subject was again reviewed in 2008 by Accurso et al8 in a paper calling for a critical appraisal of dietary carbohydrate restriction in individuals with type 2 diabetes and/or the metabolic syndrome. In connection with saturated fat intake, they comment on the inconsistent results and cite several critical reviews that have pointed to the general failure to meet the kind of unambiguous outcomes that would justify the blanket condemnation of saturated fat per se. They note that during the current obesity and diabetes epidemic, the proportion of dietary saturated fat decreased and for men the decrease was 14%. They also point to the now famous result of the Woman's Health Initiative study which found no difference in CVD incidence for those who consumed < 10% saturated fat compared or those whose consumption was > 14% of total energy intake. They also comment on the point raised above that increased saturated fat consumption decreases the small, dense LDL, the LDL though to be atherogenic. Finally, they also mention that a greater intake in saturated fat reduced the progression of coronary atherosclerosis and greater carbohydrate intake increased the rate of progression. For the replacement of fat with carbohydrates, they point out that the result is almost always harmful.


Read the full article here. Well worth your time.

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