Saturated fat has long been portrayed as a major culprit in the development of heart disease. For the last 60 years Americans have been urged to cut back on sat fat and eat a low-fat diet for the sake of their hearts. Now, an editorial in the BMJ journal Open Heart suggests that the recommendation to replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats such as corn oil or safflower oil that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids is not based on good science.
When people cut back on fat they frequently replace it with carbohydrates, often simple carbs like flour or sugar. This results in a diet that neither prevents heart disease nor contributes to longevity.
Research now suggests that when omega-6 fat consumption goes up without corresponding increases in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, the risks of cardiovascular disease may rise. The editorial calls for a heart healthy diet that is low in refined carbohydrates, sugars, omega 6-based oils and other processed foods.
[Open Heart, March 6, 2014]
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