Saturated fat is OK if carbs aren’t too high

Eating saturated fat keeps appearing less harmful and more beneficial than previously thought.

A 2010 meta-analysis of prospective human studies found “that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] or CVD [cardiovascular disease including stroke].”

And late last year, a University of Alabama study lent support to some paleo-like diets, higher in saturated fats and low to moderate in carbohydrates.

The study indicates that eating more saturated fat (found in meats, butter, and coconut oil) may lower one’s serum triglycerides (TG) and cholesterol on very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL-C), but only if one keeps carbohydrate intake at or below around 50% of calories.

Lower VLDL-C and TG are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

This beneficial effect of saturated fat was seen when people ate more than 12% of calories (energy) as saturated fat.

Eating more than 50% of calories as carbohydrate made the good effect of saturated fat disappear, however.

Studies that fail to account for the interaction between dietary carbohydrate and saturated fat apparently mask this link to VLDL-C and TG.

Wood AC, et al. Dietary Carbohydrate Modifies the Inverse Association Between Saturated Fat Intake and Cholesterol on Very Low-Density Lipoproteins.  Lipid Insights 2011 August 23; 2011(4): 7–15.

One thought on “Saturated fat is OK if carbs aren’t too high

  1. Pingback: Think saturated fat contributes to heart disease? Think again « Health Research Report

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