Is the tide turning in favor of saturated fat?

Sadly, it’s dangerous to think outside the box. Particularly in the scientific community. If you harbor a view that’s contrary to the whole (even in light of good, sound, scientific evidence), you are demonized, belittled, and shunned.

That’s why when one of the world’s most prominent lipid researchers did an (ahem!) honest review of the observational studies linking dietary intake of saturated fat to heart disease, I take notice. If he can get away with being honest, then surely the tide in scientific thinking must be turning!

Regular readers know that I am a fan of saturated fat, and you often read articles I post in which I challenge the lipid hypothesis — the notion that eating a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol causes heart disease. New readers come on the site and are shocked that someone like me, someone so in favor of “healthy” eating, could possibly defend diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Well now Dr. Ronald Krauss has published a review article titled “Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.”

His conclusion?

A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.

Yay! Chalk one more up for the Truth.

Guys, this is really making me hopeful. The researchers spelling the end of the lipid hypothesis are no longer cutting-edge, but increasingly more mainstream. I hope that in a decade, doctors will look back with horror on the times they advocated cutting saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet. (Much the same way they now balk at blood-letting or smoking cigarettes.)

Thanks to both Stephan at Whole Health Source and Peter at Hyperlipid for pointing out the new article.

(photo by tombothetominator)


    • says

      Oh I need a good recipe for that! The kind with apple?

      Right now I make a hot bacon dressing by mixing my hot bacon grease with my homemade mayo, and it’s killer. But I’ve always wanted to experiment with the German kind made with apples.

  1. says

    Bacon fat mayonnaise, yumm!! Thanks for this post Kristen, I’ve been learning so much about animal fats and how we need them in our diet! You can now find pork lard, tallow, and tons of butter in my fridge and freezer! From local pastured animals of course 😀
    .-= Diana@Spain in Iowa´s last blog post …Freezer Meal Bee (Gathering) =-.

  2. says

    I just bought a big hunk of pastured beef suet to render this week! The farmer I buy my beef from said he started packing it to sell because people kept asking about it (including me!). I’m all stocked up for the next couple of months with roasts, livers, ribs, and bones!
    .-= Jenn´s last blog post …Race! Larry Noel 12k =-.

  3. Katie says

    The results of this study didn’t really make a difference to my personal diet – I’ll enjoy my butter and farm-fresh milk no matter what! However, I was a little concerned that the National Dairy Council financially backed the study. Do you think the results are valid, given the Council’s involvement? I am not really sure what the implications of this study would be for them, but I am highly suspicious of *anything* they are behind. They have worked so hard to make it very difficult for many to get raw milk, and as a traditional foodist, I just don’t trust them.

    • says

      Katie — The great thing about this “study” is that it isn’t one. It’s a review of previously published studies. Other groups have done similar reviews and come to similar conclusions, but the glory of this review is that it was done by a mainstream lipid researcher. If he can now say that there’s no evidence linking dietary intake of saturated fat to heart disease (without any fear of doing his career injury), then I think it’s safe to say the tide in scientific thought is finally turning.

  4. Katie says

    Thanks for the response Kristen. I agree that it being a meta-analysis is a lot more convincing than just one study.

  5. says

    I just got back my first cholesterol test after a year of tripling my intake of grass-fed meat, raw goat dairy, and using solid animal fats in cooking. The result? Total cholesterol went up from 157 to 165 (a trivial amount) and my “good” cholesterol went up 10 points (nearly 20%)! No harm there, methinks.
    .-= Emily´s last blog post …New PT workshop outlines – reviews needed! =-.

  6. Elizabeth says

    Keep spreading the Good Word, full wonderful saturated FATS impart great taste and does wonders for your HEALTH and figure. Lucky for me I get to teach this concept often at work and I get looks like I’ve just grown horns out of my head. Anyway- I really like the meta analysis review it lends a lot more authority for those of us who work in medicine.

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