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The saturated fat found mainly in meat and dairy products has a bad reputation, but a recent analysis of published studies finds no clear link between people's intake of saturated fat and their risk of developing heart disease.
Research has shown that saturated fat can raise blood levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, and elevated LDL is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Because of this, experts generally advise people to limit their intake of fatty meat, butter, and full-fat dairy. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that adults get no more than 7 percent of their daily calories from fat; for someone who eats 2,000 calories a day, that translates into fewer than 16 grams of saturated fat per day.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January, 2010, combines the results of 21 previous studies, and shows no clear evidence that higher saturated fat intakes led to higher risks of heart disease or stroke.
The findings don't surprise Dr. Aziz one bit, “Some studies have shown that saturated fats even prevent heart disease. Look at the French, no heart disease despite their high saturated fat intake, is it really a paradox?” He also added, “Saturated fats also help with our sex hormones—estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone—which keep us young, and full-fat dairy contains CLA which helps with weight loss.”
This important study failed to achieve much media attention, yet it is groundbreaking given that we were told that saturated fats were bad for 40 years. In fact, the past AHA president Robert H. Eckel cautioned against "over-interpreting" the results of previous studies.
Dr. Aziz explains the LDL link to saturated fats and why doctors thought they were bad:
Saturated fats raise the fluffy LDL, which is not linked to atherosclerosis because it passes freely through the arteries; it is, rather, the small LDL that is affected by sugar that causes the harm. Doctors do not routinely check an advanced lipid test to know which LDL is affected before prescribing a cholesterol lowering drug. Sex hormones levels are rarely checked by doctors and the public continues to suffer as we eliminated these types of fats. I am doing my part by getting The Perfect 10 Diet’s message to the public and doctors. Hopefully, one day the nation will wake up to the fact that we were once told to follow the biggest myth in the history of mankind.
More on the study below:
Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association
of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease
Patty W. Siri-Tarino, Qi Sun, Frank B. Hu, and Ronald M. Krauss
Background: A reduction in dietary saturated fat has generally
been thought to improve cardiovascular health.
Objective: The objective of this meta-analysis was to summarize
the evidence related to the association of dietary saturated fat with
risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and cardiovascular
disease (CVD; CHD inclusive of stroke) in prospective epidemiologic
Design: Twenty-one studies identified by searching MEDLINE and
EMBASE databases and secondary referencing qualified for inclusion
in this study. A random-effects model was used to derive
composite relative risk estimates for CHD, stroke, and CVD.
Results: During 5–23 years of follow-up of 347,747 subjects, 11,006
developed CHD or stroke. Intake of saturated fat was not associated
with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD. The pooled relative
risk estimates that compared extreme quantities of saturated fat intake
were: 1.07 (95% CI: 0.96, 1.19; P = 0.22) for CHD; 0.81 (95%
CI: 0.62, 1.05; P = 0.11) for stroke; and 1.00 (95% CI: 0.89, 1.11;
P = 0.95) for CVD. Consideration of age, sex, and study quality did
not change the results.
Conclusions: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies
showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that
dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD
or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are
likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace
saturated fat. Am J Clin Nutr doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725