Say ‘no’ to butter, saturated fats are bad for health
Saturated fats in butter, lard and red meat raise the risk of early death, but replacing these with fats like olive oil can offer substantial health benefits, a three-decade study confirmed on Tuesday.
The research involving more than 120,000 people was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine. “There has been widespread confusion in the biomedical community and the general public in the last couple of years about the health effects of specific types of fat in the diet,” said lead author Dong Wang, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University adding, “This study documents important benefits of unsaturated fats, especially when they replace saturated and trans fats.”
Among the key findings of the study were that people who ate more saturated and trans fats had higher mortality rates than those who consumed the same number of calories from carbohydrates. Trans fats, including partially hydrogenated oil products like margarine, had the most severe impact on health.
The study found that every two percent higher intake of trans fat was associated with a 16 percent higher chance of dying early. Every five percent higher increase in consumption of saturated fats was linked to an eight percent greater risk of dying.
But eating large amounts of unsaturated fats “was associated with between 11 percent and 19 percent lower overall mortality compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrates,” said the study. These included poly unsaturated fats like omega3 and omega-6 found in fish oils as well and soy and canola oils. “People who replaced saturated fats with unsaturated fats — especially poly unsaturated fats — had significantly lower risk of death overall during the study period, as well as lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and respiratory disease, compared with those who maintained high intakes of saturated fats,” said the study. The findings are consistent with the concept of a beneficial Mediterranean style diet, rich in unsaturated fats from plants, fish and olive oil.
TRANS FATS, INCLUDING PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OIL PRODUCTS LIKE MARGARINE, HAD THE MOST SEVERE IMPACT ON HEALTH