A new Norwegian diet intervention study (FATFUNC), performed by researchers at the KG Jebsen center for diabetes research at the University of Bergen, raises questions regarding the validity of a diet hypothesis that has dominated for more than half a century: that dietary fat and particularly saturated fat is unhealthy for most people.
The researchers found strikingly similar health effects of diets based on either lowly processed carbohydrates or fats. In the randomized controlled trial, 38 men with abdominal obesity followed a dietary pattern high in either carbohydrates or fat, of which about half was saturated. Fat mass in the abdominal region, liver and heart was measured with accurate analyses, along with a number of key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
“The very high intake of total and saturated fat did not increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular diseases,” says professor and cardiologist Ottar Nygård who contributed to the study.
“Participants on the very-high-fat diet also had substantial improvements in several important cardiometabolic risk factors, such as ectopic fat storage, blood pressure, blood lipids (triglycerides), insulin and blood sugar.” More.
Replication is needed for sure.
That said, health issues attract well-meaning people. We want to stay healthy, so we want to believe that their zeal is proportional to their evidence, But it is becoming obvious that, in key areas, it just isn’t. Or not necessarily.
We should be glad. False certainty is much worse than uncertainty. It precludes or blocks a search for more correct information. Uncertainty urges us to keep trying.
One wonders, will epigenetics transform the way we look at nutrition? What if nutritional advice should always address individuals with specific histories? Such a change would transform a discipline currently dominated by mass exhortations to avoid salt or fats, or skim milk, most of which may be irrelevant to an individual’s health.
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