You spread low-fat margarine on your fat-free bread at breakfast, use fat-free mayonnaise in your water-packed tuna at lunch and eat a dinner featuring skinless chicken breast and pasta sprayed with 0-calorie butter spray. Think you're protecting yourself from high cholesterol and heart disease? Wrong, says a physician specializing in interventional cardiology, reported the BBC News on October 22.
It is time to "bust the myth of the role of saturated fat in heart disease," declared cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra in the British Medical Journal on October 22.
For almost 40 years, diet experts and doctors have urged overweight people to stop eating saturated fat in order to reduce their risk of heart disease. But they're misleading consumers, according to Dr. Malhotra.
"Scientific evidence shows that this advice has, paradoxically, increased our cardiovascular risks. Furthermore, the government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol, which has led to the overmedication of millions of people with statins, has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia," he asserted.
Dr. Mahlhotra accuses the food industry of replacing saturated fat in products with sugar. The result: Products high in sugar labeled "low-fat" or "fat-free." However, he says that all that sugar actually contributes more to heart disease than fat.
Want to protect your heart? Then stop worrying about saturated fat and enjoy a Mediterranean-style diet with nuts, olive oil, fish, fruits, vegetables and even red wine. According to Dr. Malhotra, choosing that type of low carb diet after a heart attack is almost three times as powerful in reducing mortality as taking a statin.
Joining the argument: UC San Francisco pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig, author of ."Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease" (click for details). Talking with the Los Angeles Times on October 22, Dr. Lustig emphasized that sugar is much worse than saturated fat for health.
"When saturated fat got mixed up with the high sugar added to processed food in the second half of the 20th century, it got a bad name," said Dr. Lustig. "The American Heart Assn. has weighed in -- the sugar many times over" is worse than fat.
These two defenders of fat are not alone in the great carbs versus fat debate. Dr. David Perlmutter, a renowned neurologist, appeared on Dr. Mehmet Oz's talk show earlier this week to discuss his views on why high-fat, high protein diets are the path to health. Read all about his views by clicking here.