Men's Health (Singapore) - - HEALTH -

The Ori­gin

In the 1940s, heart dis­ease was the top killer in the United States. To iden­tify the causes, many stud­ies were launched, in­clud­ing the land­mark Fram­ing­ham Heart Study and the Seven Coun­tries Study. The lat­ter ex­am­ined risk fac­tors across cul­tures and linked di­ets high in sat­u­rated fat to heart dis­ease. The Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion en­dorsed the find­ings and sounded the alarm on sat­u­rated fat. Com­pa­nies re­sponded with low-fat pro­cessed foods. Be­lief in the hearthealthy ben­e­fits of a low-fat diet still per­sists to­day, even though heart dis­ease re­mains the lead­ing cause of death in the na­tion.

The Truth

Hun­dreds of millions of dol­lars have been spent try­ing to repli­cate the Seven Coun­tries Study, with­out suc­cess. In Novem­ber, new re­search in The Lancet span­ning 18 coun­tries across five con­ti­nents con­cluded that “to­tal fats and types of fat were not as­so­ci­ated with car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.” We now know that sugar is ex­tremely harm­ful to health. A 2014 JAMA In­ter­nal Medicine study found that peo­ple who get 25 per­cent or more of their daily calo­ries from added sugar are more than twice as likely to die of heart dis­ease as those who get 10 per­cent or less. That’s re­gard­less of age, sex, and BMI.

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