Stop worrying about fat

You can stop worrying and start loving all that fat in bacon and eggs.

It’s a message scientists are giving more often these days. It’s one Big Pharma and Big Food still hate to hear: stop worrying and start loving saturated fat because it isn’t linked to a greater risk of death and heart disease.

A higher intake of transfats, on the other hand, is linked in Canadian research to be published this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Silencing critics

The research findings will likely also stick deep in the throats of die-hard critics of low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) eating regimens – and critics of University of Cape Town emeritus professor Tim Noakes, who has pioneered LCHF in South Africa. Still, critics’ voices are growing dimmer as the evidence grows  more compelling that Noakes is not a dangerous nutter out to kill people after all.

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As Noakes, US science journalists Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz, and other researchers internationally have noted ad nauseum, the diet-heart hypothesis was built on a shaky scientific foundation, saturated fat is so far not proven to be the enemy of heart health after all.

Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat, and Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise, are among those who say the science is there to show that LCHF is looking good to prevent or even treat heart disease and diabetes.

The problem is that these messages seem to be taking an awfully long time to permeate through medical and dietetic professional circles.

Obesity and current dietary advice

LCHF experts, including Noakes, say the consequences for health and longevity are nothing short of catastrophic. If you doubt it, they say that all you need to do is just look at the effects on health of current dietary advice doctors and dietitians regularly dish out: global epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and related medical conditions.

A BMJ press release (to read it in full, scroll down below) gives provisos of the Canadian research – results are based on observational studies, so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. However, the analysis ‘confirms the findings of five previous systematic reviews of saturated and trans fats and CHD’.

Just as importantly, though, the researchers look at implications for current official dietary guidelines. A recent and ground-breaking study by British obesity researcher Zoe Harcombe showed that US and UK dietary guidelines were without any scientific foundation whatsoever when they were imposed on an unsuspecting public close to 40 years ago, and spread to other parts of the globe.

(You can listen here to a podcast of Harcombe explaining why official dietary guidelines may have caused the unnecessary deaths of millions globally in the interim).

Interestingly, just recently, Sweden was widely reported by the country’s own and leading international media to be about to change its official dietary guidelines in favour of LCHF on its own committee’s expert advice.

Yet when health push came to shove, the Swedish government baled, and did a spectacular backflip. The only inference to be drawn is that it has bowed to vested interests – or at the very least, bad science – by sticking to conventional dietary dogma in its latest guidelines that promote high-carb, low-saturated-fat eating.

It is yet another example of the damaging effects that the politics of food wreak on people’s health.

Predictably, the guidelines encourage ‘lots of fruits and vegetables’ – presumably based on the five-a-day recommendation. Harcombe has effectively demolished the science – or lack thereof – on that one.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.