Intake of saturated fat can raise one's blood cholesterol and increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease (the research is vast). There is no question that high blood cholesterol is a bad thing, but this does not mean eliminating or reducing saturated fat from you diet will necessarily lower or eliminate your risk of developing CHD or any other disease.
"Now I've heard that there's dispute among professionals on whether saturated fats are unhealthy."
1984: Meat consumption and fatal ischemic heart disease.
For 45- to 64-year-old men, there was
approximately a threefold difference
in risk between men who ate meat daily
and those who did not eat meat. This
is the first study to clearly show a
dose-response relationship between
meat consumption and ischemic heart
Possible interpretation: Do not eat meat (or butter). Ever.
2010: Effects on Coronary Heart Disease of Increasing Polyunsaturated Fat in Place of Saturated Fat
...Reduced saturated fat (SFA)
consumption is recommended to reduce
coronary heart disease (CHD), but
there is an absence of strong
supporting evidence from randomized
controlled trials (RCTs) of clinical
Possible interpretation: Eat as much meat as you want (with butter even).
The rub: Politicizing either interpretation is child's play (and I'm not gonna touch it*).
A good explanation and general summary of the state of fat.....
Types of Dietary Fat and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Critical Review
Key points from the paper:
- In the past several decades,
reduction in fat intake has been the
main focus of national dietary
recommendations to lower risk of
coronary heart disease (CHD).
- Metabolic studies have long
established that the type of fat, but
not total amount of fat, predicts
serum cholesterol levels.
- Results from epidemiologic studies
and controlled clinical trials have
indicated that replacing saturated
fat with unsaturated fat is more
effective in lowering risk of CHD
than simply reducing total fat
- Prospective cohort studies and
secondary prevention trials have
provided strong evidence that a
higher intake of n-3 fatty acids from
fish or plant sources lowers risk of
- Recent national dietary guidelines
have shifted the emphasis from total
fat reduction to distinguishing
different types of fat.
The bottom line: Moderation in all things seems good advice.
*It is usually a good idea to check out the authors’ responsibilities and/or acknowledgments section of any research papers you might read.