Those involved in creating and implementing food guidelines are eating their words today, as it’s come to their attention that saturated fats, like those found in butter and whole milk, may not be as evil as once thought.
The original research study that led to strict warnings about saturated fat consumption back in the early ’80s has turned out to be about as legitimate as Andrew Wakefield‘s autism-vaccine connection. That is, not really at all. New claims show that their so-called evidence was based on a participant group solely comprised of unhealthy men. Not only were no women involved, but there wasn’t even a control group, and any high school science student can tell you that that will only lead to inconclusive results. To be fair though, the study never did state that warnings should be put in place. So, what happened?
Saturated fats had been touted as a main contributor to issues like heart disease and obesity, so officials were perhaps a little too quick to place restrictions on them in an attempt to curb those, and other illnesses. Once the US implemented these warnings, a list of other countries followed suit. The problem here isn’t that we’ve been avoiding these foods (vegans are a prime example of this), it’s the influx of “low-fat” alternatives that replaced them. Removing fat content from dairy and other items often means an increase in refined sugar content and chemical additives, both of which we know can actually be very harmful.
Of course, this isn’t to say that you should feel good about that stick of deep fried butter you ate at the exhibition this summer, because let’s be honest, that’s disgusting, but it does at least give some piece of mind when you remember that many foods are perfectly fine in moderation.
Canada’s Food Guide still suggests limiting both your saturated and trans fat intake, and until we hear otherwise, we suggest following their advice.