Researchers from the University of Bergen’s Jebsen Center for Diabetes Research, found that tucking into foods high in saturated fat (like butter and cream) isn’t as bad for us as we’ve been led to believe.
Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Norwegian study (called FATFUNC) makes a bold statement. It goes against the long-held guidance that saturated fat is bad for almost everyone.
While many leading health associations still uphold the claim that saturated fats are unhealthy, prominent dietary advisory groups are changing their tune. They say there simply isn’t enough evidence to link saturated fat with heart disease. And many say sugar is in fact the culprit.
How was the discovery made?In this study, 38 men followed a particular diet. One group was asked to stick to a high-fat, low-carb diet. The other group ate only a low-fat, high-carb diet. The diets were followed for 12 weeks.
During the study, the men’s fat mass around the stomach, liver and heart were measured, alongside their cardiovascular risk factors.
While we might assume the men on the high-fat diet ended up with more fat, that simply wasn’t the outcome.
"The very high intake of total and saturated fat did not increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular diseases," said professor and cardiologist Ottar Nygård.
"Participants on the very high-fat diet also had substantial improvements in several important cardiometabolic risk factors, such as ectopic fat storage, blood pressure, blood lipids (triglycerides), insulin and blood sugar.”
So what does this mean?
"Our findings indicate that the overriding principle of a healthy diet is not the quantity of fat or carbohydrates, but the quality of the foods we eat," said Ph.D. candidate Johnny Laupsa-Borge.
So once again, we’re reminded of the importance of eating a wide and balanced diet of fresh, whole foods. If you’d like personal tips and advice, a dietician or nutritionist can help.