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Low Saturate Fat Diets Don't Minimize Heart Disease Risk

Update Date: Mar 06, 2014 10:08 AM EST

Diets that are low in saturated fat don't curb heart disease risk in any case, according to a leading US cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy. 

In an editorial Dr James DiNicolantonio also argued that current dietary advice to replace saturated fats with carbohydrates or omega 6-rich polyunsaturated fats was based on flawed and incomplete data from 1950s. 

He insisted that dietary guidelines should be urgently reviewed and vilification of saturated fats should also be stopped immediately to save lives. 

Pointing to the demonisation of saturated fats in 1952, he said research suggested a link between high dietary saturated fat intake and deaths from heart disease. However, according to him, study authors drew their conclusions on data from six countries and chose to ignore the data from a further 16. This did not fit the hypothesis and hence the analysis of next 22 countries data disproved, he added. 

In an accompanying podcast he also pointed out that the bad boy image stuck particularly after US president Eisenhower had a heart attack in his 50s. 

"We need a public health campaign as strong as the one we had in the 70s and 80s demonising saturated fats, to say that we got it wrong," urged DiNicolantonio in the podcast.

According to his recommendations, the best diet to boost and maintain heart health is one low in refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods. 

He also suggested that anyone who had a heart attack should not consider replacing saturated fats with refined carbs or omega 6 fatty acids - especially those found in processed vegetable oils that contains large amounts of corn or safflower oil. 

The editorial has been published in the open access journal Open Heart

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