Evidence suggests saturated fat not as bad for the heart as previously believed
TORONTO, Dec. 1 /CNW/ - Dr. Arne Astrup, Head of the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, is urging Canadian health professionals to reexamine their views on saturated fat in our diet. Dr. Astrup presents significant evidence that saturated fat may have more of a neutral effect on the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the food matrix in which saturated fat exists may be more important than the amount of saturated fat in a food.
For example, although cheese may contain saturated fat, other components that it also contains such as protein and calcium may produce an overall beneficial effect for cardiovascular health.
Dr. Astrup also points out that while some benefits can be achieved by replacing some saturated fat with polyunsaturated, it really depends on the fat sources. There is no robust evidence to substantiate that replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil) or carbohydrates actually reduces cardiovascular disease (CVD). The evidence he presents suggests that replacing saturated fat with carbohydrates may actually increase cardiovascular risk, unless the carbs are from whole grain/fibre-rich sources. This again supports the observation that it is the entire food matrix which must be studied to determine any relationship to CVD.
Dr. Astrup's conclusions are part of his "State of knowledge in 2010 of Saturated fat and CVD," which he is presenting at the Symposium on Nutrition and Health organized by Registered Dietitians with Dairy Farmers of Canada in Toronto on December 1st; in Montreal on December 2nd; and in Moncton on December 3rd. Dr. Astrup's presentation includes evidence from 20 recently published scientific papers.
"For the past three decades, saturated fat has been regarded as a major culprit with respect to cardiovascular disease. However, new evidence, from better designed studies, suggests that this may not be the case," said Dr. Astrup. "The evidence also suggests the food in which saturated fat exists may be more important than just looking at the amount of saturated fat in isolation."
Looking to the future of nutrition research, related to CVD, Dr. Astrup notes that no cohort studies have investigated the association of protein, in place of saturated fat, on risk of CVD. In conclusion, Dr. Astrup recommends that future studies should assess whole foods (the food matrix) rather than single nutrients when studying their effect on CVD risk.
About Dr. Arne Astrup
Professor Arne Astrup is the Head of Department of Human Nutrition at the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He was awarded the Chair in Nutrition at the University in 1990. Professor Astrup's main areas of interest and research include physiology and pathophysiology of energy and substrate metabolism, with a special emphasis on the etiology and treatment of obesity. He is Editor-in-Chief of the IASO Journal: Obesity Reviews, and is a member of the editorial board of The International Journal of Obesity.
About Dairy Farmers of Canada
Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is involved in a number of initiatives that promote good nutrition and healthy living. The Registered Dietitians at DFC are committed to understanding and translating the science and art of healthy eating into effective, innovative, and award winning resources. DFC is completely funded by dairy producers.
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