Official diet advice on fat stands, despite new study

By Christine Williams YET again questions are being asked about the long-standing wisdom of avoiding diets rich in fat, especially saturated fats. The latest doubts have been prompted by a study saying that randomised controlled trials (RCTs) available when dietary guidance on fat was introduced, in 1977 in the US and 1983 in the UK, did not support the advice (Open Heart, Both countries advised less fat in the diet, especially saturated fat, because of its potential to raise cholesterol, leading to coronary heart disease. The problem is, the authors of this study have taken a classical pharmaceutical approach, assuming that RCTs provide the gold standard for dietary study as they do in clinical trials. They don’t. In fact such an approach would be inappropriate for most population-based guidance. Most dietary guidelines have been developed using the degree of consistency in a number of lines of evidence. RCTs are part of that, but only a part. This is because results from dietary RCTs involving people with disease may not apply to the healthy population. And to do RCTs on healthy people requires many more volunteers often studied for years. Sticking to strict diets is hard, and drop-out rates can be very high. Cost, commitment, feasibility and uncertainty about the reliability of the findings are all major challenges for such RCTs. When the guidelines were introduced, consistent evidence for the cholesterol-raising effects of saturated fat was available via other types of research – from animal studies, comparisons of health between countries with differing diets, and observational studies of large groups over years. In addition, there was evidence from short-term trials in metabolic wards, where diets of volunteers could be monitored, and in other settings with less dietary control. While it is important that we continue to examine the evidence on diet and heart disease, this must be a holistic assessment recognising that cholesterol levels have improved over the past 30 years. Admittedly, concerns that sugars replaced saturated fats in the diet also need assessing. But any suggestion that it is OK to eat more fat than currently advised remains wishful thinking and could harm heart health. “Any suggestion that it’s OK to eat more fat than currently advised remains wishful thinking” This article appeared in print under the headline “Hard to swallow” More on these topics:
  • 首页
  • 游艇租赁
  • 电话
  • 关于我们