Mar­garine re­ally IS bet­ter for you than but­ter

Scottish Daily Mail - - Labour In Brighton - By Ben Spencer Med­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent [email protected]­ly­

EAT­ING mar­garine in­stead of but­ter re­ally does re­duce your risk of heart dis­ease, re­search sug­gests.

Ex­perts at Har­vard Univer­sity yesterday cast doubt on the re­sults of re­cent stud­ies that pro­moted the re­turn of but­ter and cream.

For decades, nu­tri­tion­ists had warned us to cut down on full-fat milk and other dairy and meat prod­ucts that are high in sat­u­rated fat. But sev­eral ma­jor stud­ies in re­cent months sug­gested that those who do so are no less likely to suf­fer a range of dis­eases, in­clud­ing heart dis­ease, than any­one else.

But now the Har­vard sci­en­tists say their re­search has shown that sat­u­rated fat is bad for our health af­ter all. They said the rea­son for the other re­searchers’ find­ings may be that many of those who cut down on sat­u­rated fat then eat more re­fined car­bo­hy­drates such as white bread, which they found was just as big a risk fac­tor for heart dis­ease.

In­stead, their study showed that re­plac­ing sat­u­rated fat with foods high in un­sat­u­rated fat – such as mar­garine, olive oil and nuts – sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced the risk of heart dis­ease.

Study au­thor Pro­fes­sor Frank Hu, of the Har­vard School of Public Health, said: ‘Our re­search does not ex­on­er­ate sat­u­rated fat. In terms of heart dis­ease risk, sat­u­rated fat and re­fined car­bo­hy­drates ap­pear to be sim­i­larly un­health­ful.

‘Our find­ings sug­gest that when pa­tients are mak­ing lifestyle changes to their di­ets, car­di­ol­o­gists should en­cour­age the con­sump­tion of un­sat­u­rated fats like veg­etable oils, nuts, and seeds, as well as healthy car­bo­hy­drates such as whole grains.’

Pro­fes­sor Hu’s team an­a­lysed long-run­ning diet and health in­for­ma­tion from some 127,000 Amer­i­cans.

They found that re­plac­ing 5 per cent of a per­son’s energy in­take from sat­u­rated fat with foods high in polyun­sat­u­rated fat – such as fish – re­duced the risk of coro­nary heart dis­ease by 25 per cent.

Re­plac­ing the same amount of sat­u­rated fat in­take with foods that con­tain high lev­els of mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat – such as olive oil – re­duced heart dis­ease risk by 15 per cent.

But re­plac­ing sat­u­rated fat in­take with re­fined car­bo­hy­drates saw no fall in heart dis­ease risk, the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Car­di­ol­ogy re­ports.

Fel­low re­searcher Yan­ping Li said: ‘ Our find­ings sug­gest that the low-fat, high-carb trends of the 1980s and 1990s are not ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing risk of coro­nary heart dis­ease. It means that in­di­vid­u­als should not re­place sat­u­rated fat with re­fined carbs or vice versa.’

Bri­tons were ad­vised in 1983 to cut their fat in­take to 30 per cent of their to­tal energy and sat­u­rated fat in­take to 10 per cent, while eat­ing more car­bo­hy­drates.

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