Bring on the butter. With a new review of research published in BMJ, butter and other saturated fats' villainous status continues to melt.
Scientists at McMaster University analyzed results of 50 observational studies that examined the link between saturated and trans fats and health. The team found no clear association between higher intake of saturated fats and death for any reason, coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), ischemic stroke or type 2 diabetes. Intake of trans fats was another story, however. Eating those fats was associated with a 34 percent increase in death for any reason, a 28 percent increased risk of CHD mortality and a 21 percent increase in the risk of CHD.
“For years everyone has been advised to cut out fats. Trans fats have no health benefits and pose a significant risk for heart disease, but the case for saturated fat is less clear,” said the study’s lead author Russell de Souza, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics with the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, in a university release. The study results were also noted on sciencedaily.com.
“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,” he said.
The researchers wrote that because their results are based on observational studies, they can’t draw definitive conclusions about cause and effect. However, their findings “confirm results of five previous systemic reviews of saturated and trans fats and CHD.”
Though partially hydrogenated oils will be phased out of the American food supply by 2018, trans fat laden items like Nilla Wafers and Chips Ahoy still beckon from supermarket shelves.