Saturated fats have long been thought the main enemy in the battle against cardiovascular disease.
But new research from experts in the field suggests that sugar may be a worse dietary culprit.
For many years, though, guidelines were based on research carried out fifty years ago.
Dr James J.. DiNicolantonio, the study’s first author, said:
“While the original studies upon which the longstanding guidelines were based were largely observational.
We now have more than a half century of data as well as increased understanding of how nutrition impacts the body and specifically coronary heart disease.”
Saturated fats are now seen as not all bad.
Some can increase levels of HDL, the so-called ‘good cholesterol’.
Unfortunately when people reduce their intake of saturated fats, they can replace them with more sugar.
Diets higher in sugar are linked to all sorts of problems, including diabetes, insulin resistance, poor platelet function and more.
Fructose in particular seems particularly bad for you.
Fructose — which is often used in processed foods — is linked to obesity and cardiovascular disease.
The sugars contained in fruits and vegetables, though, pose no threat.
Dr DiNicolantonio said:
“After a thorough analysis of the evidence it seems appropriate to recommend dietary guidelines shift focus away from recommendations to reduce saturated fat and towards recommendations to avoid added sugars.
Most importantly recommendations should support the eating of whole foods whenever possible and the avoidance of ultra-processed food.”
The study was published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases (DiNicolantonio et al., 2015).
No sugar image from Shutterstock