Everyone knows saturated fat raises cholesterol and leads to heart disease, right? Not so fast. The great writer H. L . Mencken once said, “For every complex question, there is a simple answer. And it is always wrong.”
If you ask your average doctor why you should avoid saturated fat, he or she will probably tell you this: “Saturated fat raises cholesterol and causes heart disease.” In fact, saturated fat has become so demonized that it’s next to impossible to find it mentioned in a newspaper or magazine article without being accompanied by the description “artery-clogging.”
But what most people—including, sadly, your average doctor—don’t know is that studies have never convincingly demonstrated the relationship between saturated fat in the diet and heart disease. Never.
In fact, several research review papers found quite the opposite. One of the reviews, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the advice we get regarding saturated fat from leading health organizations to what the science actually says. The authors found that despite the admonitions to avoid saturated fat due to its connection to heart disease, the science shows nothing of the sort. Their conclusion: “Results and conclusions about saturated fat intake in relationship to cardiovascular disease, from leading advisory committees, do not reflect the available scientific evidence.”
Another article, published in the Journal of Nutrition, went even further: “There is no