While saturated fat may be believed to be a factor in increased heart disease risk, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true – as the new study from the Harvard School of Public Health, and the meta-analysis by Dr. Krauss are clearly indicating otherwise (A Guilt-Free Hamburger, May 18).
Unfortunately, many of the comments made by medical professionals within the article illustrate the prevailing mindset to continue clinging to such dogmatic beliefs in the face of evidence to the contrary. While Dr. Eckel is encouraged to be cautious in examining the “scientific value” of these and other studies, I wonder where such discerning eyes were with the study that got us to fear saturated fat in the first place. There, Ancels Keys omitted approximately two-thirds of the data in order to fit his pre-conceived hypothesis – saturated fat should have never been vilified in the first place. To date, there have been zero studies proving saturated fat has anything to do with heart disease.
The input from Mr. Hodges of the American Meat Institute is no better, stating the “body of evidence clearly demonstrates that processed meat is a healthy part of a balanced diet.” Is he referring the staggering rates of increase in obesity, diabetes, and a host of other ills plaguing our nation’s health? I suppose we are to ignore the extreme conflict of interest present here. Saying the results conflict with national dietary guidelines is just as laughable of a defense, as those guidelines are often derived from such poor science as the aforementioned Ancel Keys work – they too have had their part in the decline of our health.
While saturated fats are associated with higher levels of cholesterol, the increases are in the “good” HDL, and the harmless “fluffy” large particle LDL – making the point mute. Additionally, dietary cholesterol intake has a negligible effect on blood cholesterol in the majority of people. Cholesterol is actually an essential nutrient, avoiding it is misguided at best. Now that we are seeing there is no basis for outlawing saturated fat, we are going after salt. What happens when we find out salt isn’t the problem either? The science behind salt intake and blood pressure is inconclusive as well. The vilification of unprocessed nutrients like saturated fat and salt that have been a part of various healthy societies since the beginning of time is illogical - while nitrates and other additives new to human consumption barely garner a mention.
Dr. Mozaffarian hits the nail on the head when he says we need to stop “trying to micromanage nutrients and look at the healthy quality of foods.” That means to stop eating processed foods that have been stripped of all their nutritional value – only to be replaced by Franken-gredients not fit for human consumption.
I can only hope the good doctor is just as accurate when he says “Maybe the science is catching up with the intuitive sense.” Our health depends on it.