Medics are saying saturated fat may not be the devil incarnate. Just don’t expect an apology from low-fat food purveyors
by Joanna Blythman
theguardian dot com
Government and health charities have been doling out duff healthy eating advice for decades, but when are they going to admit it? That’s the question raised by the remarks of cardiologist Aseem Malhotra, who writing in the BMJ has challenged the orthodoxy that the consumption of foods containing saturated fat, such as butter and red meat, causes heart disease.
Malhotra is brave and principled to speak out, yet he is far from a lone voice. In 2010, a major review of scientific studies on fat, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluded that contrary to what we have been lead to believe, “there is no convincing evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease”. In the UK, other independent-minded nutritionists and medics, including John Briffa, Zoe Harcombe, and Malcolm Kendrick, have vociferously countered the biggest public health dogma of our times. It’s the same story in the US, where influential voices, such as Garry Taubes, Michael Pollan and Robert Lustig, have all called time on the notion that saturated fat is the devil incarnate.
Why? Counter-intuitive though it might seem, there’s no evidence that fat is fattening. Indeed by sating the appetite effectively, it may prevent overeating. To quote Kendrick, “there is not one molecule of evidence to suggest that saturated fat consumption causes obesity”. What’s certain is that saturated fat is a key component of our cell membranes, and essential for the production of certain hormones. It also acts as a carrier for important vitamins, and is vital for mineral absorption, and many other biological processes. So why has the public health establishment so assiduously encouraged us to shun it?
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