• Saturated Fat: Systematic Review Finds No Grounds For Current Warnings

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    Saturated fat is a type of fat in food. Due to its chemical structure, it is usually hard at room temperature. Saturated is found in significant amounts in animal foods, such as the visible fat on meat and chicken, butter, cream and full fat dairy products, and in plant foods like palm and coconut oil.

    But there is a dark side to fat. Fat is high in calories and small amounts can add up quickly. If you eat more calories than you need, you will gain weight. Excess weight is linked to poor health.

    The concern with some types of dietary fat (and their cousin cholesterol) is that they are thought to play a role in cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Dietary fat also may have a role in other diseases, including obesity and cancer.

    Research about the possible harms and benefits of dietary fat is always evolving. And a growing body of research suggests that when it comes to dietary fat, you should focus on eating healthy fats and avoiding unhealthy fats. Simply stated, fat is made up of varying amounts of fatty acids. It's the type and amount of fatty acid found in food that determines the effect of the fat on your health.

    For well over half a century, the media and a majority of health care officials have warned that saturated fats are bad for your health and lead to a host of negative consequences, including high cholesterol, obesity, and heart disease.

    The American Heart Association began encouraging Americans to limit dietary fat, particularly animal fats, in order to reduce their risk of heart disease as far back as 1961. And as of 2010, the current recommendations from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) call for reducing your saturated fat intake to a mere 10 percent of your total calories or less.

    Systematic Review Finds No Grounds for Current Guidelines on Fat

    Four years ago, a meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition came to the conclusion that there's “no significant evidence… that saturated fat is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease.”

    Now, yet another meta-analysis of 49 observational studies and 27 randomized …

    The best way to prevent heart disease may be to eat more whole, unprocessed foods. So eat fish, beans, fruits, vegetables, brown rice, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and olive oils, and even some animal products like yogurt and high-quality meat and cheese. The Mediterranean diet, which draws about 45% of calories from fat — including small amounts of saturated fat — is a good choice.

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