A latest Norwegian Diet Intervention study has raised questions regarding the validity of diet hypothesis which states that saturated fat is unhealthy for most of the people.
The study was undertaken by researchers at the KG Jebsen center for diabetes research from University of Bergen.
Researchers found strikingly similar effects over health of diets which was based on either lowly processed carbohydrates or fat.
In the randomized controlled trial, 38 men with the abdominal obesity has followed a dietary pattern which were high in either carbohydrates or fat. Of these half was saturated.
Fat mass in the abdominal region, liver and even heart was measured for further accurate analysis, with a number of key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Professor and cardiologist Ottar Nygard who contributed to the study says, “The very high intake of total and saturated fat did not increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular diseases. Participants on the very-high-fat diet also had substantial improvements in several important cardiometabolic risk factors, such as ectopic fat storage, blood pressure, blood lipids (triglycerides), insulin and blood sugar”
Both groups were having similar intake of energy, proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, food types which were quite similar but varied mainly in quantity. Even the intake of added sugar was minimized.
PhD candidate Vivian Veum says, “We here looked at effects of total and saturated fat in the context of a healthy diet rich in fresh, lowly processed and nutritious foods, including high amounts of vegetables and rice instead of flour-based products. The fat sources were also lowly processed, mainly butter, cream and cold-pressed oils.”
Energy Intake of Body:
Total energy intake for the same was within range. Even the participants which has increased their own energy intake has showed substantial reductions in the fat stores and risk for disease.
PhD candidate Johnny Laupsa Borge says, “Our findings indicate that the overriding principle of a healthy diet is not the quantity of fat or carbohydrates, but the quality of the foods we eat.”
Saturated fat is being thought to be promoting cardiovascular disease by means of increasing bad LDL cholesterol in blood.
Even the higher fat intake in FATFUNC study has compared to most of the comparable studies. Authors have found no significant increase in LDL cholesterol.
Rather than that “good” cholesterol increased only on the very-high-fat diet. Ottar Nygard adding to the same says, “These results indicate that most healthy people probably tolerate a high intake of saturated fat well, as long as the fat quality is good and total energy intake is not too high. It may even be healthy.”
Assistant Professor Simon Nitter Dankel who has led the study together with the director of the laboratory clinics, Professor Gunnar Mellgren at Haukeland university hospital in Bergen, Norway says, “Future studies should examine which people or patients may need to limit their intake of saturated fat.”
Further adding he says, “But the alleged health risks of eating good-quality fats have been greatly exaggerated. It may be more important for public health to encourage reductions in processed flour-based products, highly processed fats and foods with added sugar.”
Study is published online on 30th November 2016 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.