Fats Vs Carbs: The diet debate

Author: British Heart Foundation

Date: MAR 2014

Dietary advice to switch saturated fats to carbs or omega 6 fats is based on flawed data, a researcher has claimed.

Diets low in saturated fat won't curb heart disease risk or help you live longer, according to an editorial from a US scientist.

Dr DiNicolantonio argues that carbohydrates are to blame for the surge in diabetes and obesity in America. He suggests that a low carb diet is better for weight loss and claims there is no conclusive proof that a low fat diet cuts cardiovascular risk.

Our Senior Heart Health Dietitian, Victoria Taylor, said: "As research into diet and coronary heart disease has developed, so too has our understanding of fats and cholesterol. Over the years, advice has changed from cutting out all fat to focussing on types of fats.

"In the UK, our intake of total fat meets the recommended levels but we eat too much saturated fat, so there is still work to be done. That's why we still need to swap saturated fats like lard and butter for unsaturated fats such as plant oils, nuts, seeds and oily fish.

"There have been many column inches devoted to the saturated fat debate in recent months, but fat is just one element of our diet. To look after our hearts long term, we should look at our diet as a whole. Eating a Mediterranean style diet rich in fruit, veg, pulses and fish will help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."

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Last revised: 12 March 2016

Next review: 12 March 2019