Impact of Cutting Saturated Fats Depends on What Else You Eat
Cutting saturated fat from your diet isn’t all that helpful if you replace it with a lot of white bread and pasta.
That’s the conclusion of a new research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Scientists found that cutting back on saturated fat intake could lead to a drop of up to 25 percent in heart disease risk - unless people compensated by eating too refined carbohydrates instead.
According to health experts, too many saturated fats, such as butter, cheese and fatty meats, can increase the amount of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that those who replaced 5 percent of saturated fat calories in their diet with polyunsaturated fats, such as fatty fish and flax seeds, had a 25 percent decreased risk of heart disease. Those who replaced 5 percent of saturated fat with monounsaturated fats like vegetable oil and nuts had a 15 percent reduced risk of heart disease. And replacing 5 percent of saturated fat with whole grains was tied to a 9 percent reduced risk of heart disease.
But for those who substituted saturated fat with refined carbohydrates, there was no reduction in their heart disease risk.
The study supports findings that the Mediterranean diet is a successful approach to reducing a person’s risk of heart disease. The Mediterranean diet is a low-fat diet which incorporates nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish, and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by 30 percent over five years.