There are a number of studies in progress looking at the influence of saturated fat on health outcomes, inspired by recent findings that suggest that all fatty acids aren’t created equally.
By Megan Holt, DrPH, MPH, RD
Q: One day saturated fat is bad for me, and the next day the media is saying it’s not. Is saturated fat REALLY bad for my health?
A: That is a great question and one that many people are asking these days, after recent news about saturated fat and its effects on health began surfacing in the media. A good place to start would be this recent post about saturated fatty acids (saturated fat) and how they differ from poly and monounsaturated fatty acids (unsaturated fat).
When it comes to saturated fat and its effects on health, there are some very definite opinions one way or the other. I’ll focus on the facts. There are a number of studies in progress looking at the influence of saturated fat on health outcomes, inspired by recent findings that suggest that all fatty acids aren’t created equally.
The results of Annals of Internal Medicine study are intriguing, indeed, and warrant further attention. But until we have more evidence, the vast majority of experts recommends continuing to keep saturated fat intake to a minimum and acquiring dietary fat from plant based sources (examples include olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds). We must also consider the steep environmental cost of meat consumption (10-15 pounds of grain is required to produce 1 pound of meat).
Bottom line: It’s too early to begin piling meat and cheese on your plate, but the results do suggest that more work needs to be done before we fully understand the relationship between saturated fats and heart disease. In general, be cautious when relying on media to interpret results of complex studies.
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