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Thursday 19th September 2019

Advice on saturated fat 'unclear'

18th March 2014

Investigators found no evidence to support the claim that switching to unsaturated fats had health benefits.

The British Heart Foundation and Cambridge University combined together to investigate the differences between saturated and unsaturated fats.

The research is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine

The researchers looked at data from 72 studies with more than 600,000 participants. Although there has been a big health drive to get more people eating unsaturated fats, such as olive and sunflower oils, they may not offer the heart any further protection against disease.

One type of fat that has been confirmed as unhealthy, however, is trans fats. These artificial fats found in many processed food items and margarine spreads should continue to be regulated and avoided said the study authors.

Prof Jeremy Pearson, the charity's associate medical director, said although "too much fat is bad for you", there isn't enough evidence to say that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats but low in saturated fats reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

"Alongside taking any necessary medication, the best way to stay heart healthy is to stop smoking, stay active, and ensure our whole diet is healthy."

Lead researcher Dr Rajiv Chowdhury said: "These are interesting results that potentially stimulate new lines of scientific inquiry and encourage careful reappraisal of our current nutritional guidelines."

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