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Saturated Fats Not a Killer, What!

November 19, 2016
Plain English Version
Burger King's "BK Quad Stacker" hamburger. It weighs in with 1010 calories, 70 grams of fat, 30 mg of saturated fat, 3 grams trans fats, 210 mg cholesterol, 34 carbs, 6 grams sugar, 64 grams protein, and 1800 mg sodium, not counting the 500 calorie French Fries. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Burger King’s “BK Quad Stacker” hamburger. It weighs in with 1010 calories, 70 grams of fat, 30 mg of saturated fat, 3 grams trans fats, 210 mg cholesterol, 34 carbs, 6 grams sugar, 64 grams protein, and 1800 mg sodium, not counting the 500 calorie French Fries. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Forty years ago there was a big study of saturated fats. The study found that saturated fats were not good for you. Fats lead to a rise in cholesterol. A rise in cholesterol can lead to heart disease. It could also lead to an early death. Most scientists concluded lower cholesterol levels were healthy.

There were two groups in the study. One group ate a diet low in saturated fat and high in corn oil. Their cholesterol levels went down. The other group ate meals rich in saturated fats from milk, cheese, and beef.

Scientists expected the group eating the high saturated fat diet would die earlier. The group did not.  In fact, they lived longer than the group consuming the low saturated fat diet. The study found that the lower the cholesterol level, the higher the risk of death. This outcome was the opposite of what they thought would happen.

Another study confirmed the finding. It also found that the lower cholesterol led to more deaths from heart disease.

It turns out that the study conducted forty years ago did not analyze all the data. Many nutritionists said the study did not follow the subjects for a long enough period. The study ended before it should have.

The government publishes diet guidelines. The current guidelines call for less saturated fat and more vegetable oils. Some experts are now challenging the guidelines. Many experts are sticking with the old rules.

It is a big question. It will not get answered for some time. Moderation may be the best advice. Meanwhile, the saturated fats battle is on.

Source: The Washington Post April 12, 2016

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