LIFESTYLE

Saturated Fats Such As Butter And Cheese Not Bad For Health After All, Say Scientists

12/08/2015 12:00 BST

A study looking at whether saturated fats and trans fats cause death, heart disease or type 2 diabetes in adults has unearthed some interesting findings.

Contrary to popular belief that saturated fats, such as butter and cheese, are terrible news for your health, experts have revealed that they're not actually that bad for you.

Researchers at McMaster University analysed 50 observational studies to look at whether there were links between saturated fats, trans fats and early mortality in adults.

They found that while trans fats are associated with greater risk of death and coronary heart disease, saturated fats are not.

butter

"For years everyone has been advised to cut out fats," said lead researcher, Russell de Souza. "Trans fats have no health benefits and pose a significant risk for heart disease, but the case for saturated fat is less clear.

"That said, we aren't advocating an increase of the allowance for saturated fats in dietary guidelines, as we don't see evidence that higher limits would be specifically beneficial to health."

Saturated fat is found in butter and lard, pies, cakes and biscuits, fatty cuts of meat, sausages, bacon, cheese and cream.

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The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, found trans fats were linked to increased death rates.

Consumption of industrial trans fats was linked with a 34% increase in all causes of mortality, while also being associated with a 21% increase in developing coronary heart disease and a 28% increase in dying from the condition.

Trans fats (or unsaturated fats) are produced industrially using plant oils. These are commonly found in snacks and processed foods.

De Souza and his team of researchers believes dietary guidelines for saturated and trans fats should carefully consider the effect of replacement foods.

"If we tell people to eat less saturated or trans fats, we need to offer a better choice," he said.

"Unfortunately, in our review we were not able to find as much evidence as we would have liked for a best replacement choice, but ours and other studies suggest replacing foods high in these fats, such as high-fat or processed meats and donuts, with vegetable oils, nuts, and whole grains."

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