Saturated fats in butter, lard and red meat raise the risk of early death, but replacing these with fats like olive oil can offer substantial health benefits, a three-decade study confirmed on Tuesday.
The research involving more than 120,000 people was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama) Internal Medicine.
“There has been widespread confusion in the biomedical community and the general public in the last couple of years about the health effects of specific types of fat in the diet,” said lead author Dong Wang, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Fat isn’t nearly as bad for you as we thought — and another ingredient might be far worse
Ever wandered down the “health foods” aisle of your local grocery store? If it’s anything like the one near me, it’s full of “low-fat,” carb-heavy snack foods.
Here’s the problem: Low-fat diets don’t work.
Years of research have shown this to be the case. An eight-year trial involving almost 50,000 women, roughly half of whom went on a low-fat diet, found that those on the low-fat plan didn’t lower their risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or heart disease. Plus, they didn’t lose much weight, if any.
Butter redeemed: Not tied to heart disease
Despite decades on the list of “bad” fats that harm the heart, butter, on its own, is not linked to increased risk of heart disease after all, according to a recent analysis of existing research.
Eating more butter was even weakly tied to a lower risk of diabetes, the authors found.
Some people hold that butter is a “villain” while others think it is a superfood of sorts, and this review supports neither argument, said senior author Dariush Mozaffarian of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.