Unsaturated fats

The heart-healthy diet and fitness craze can be boiled down to one, simple golden rule: Eat a lot of unsaturated fat. Why? Well because it’s amazing for your heart and it will protect you from basically every cardiovascular disease known to man kind! Or so we’ve been told… However, a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed some surprising new information on the link between dietary fat and heart disease rates, and it’s got the whole health community buzzing.

“Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplementing Fatty Acids with Coronary Risks: A Systemic Review and Meta-analysis” is the name of the study conducted by┬áDr. Rajiv Chowdhury at the University of Cambridge. The study includes information collected from over 660,000 participants and analyzes data from both self-assessments and clinical trials, meaning its conclusion is based on far more than simple speculation.

The study found that the link between high levels of unsaturated fat in the body with low rates of cardiovascular disease to be relatively nonexistent. So basically, eating a lot of so-called “healthy” fats does squat, zilch, nada to protect the heart from illness. In addition, the research also revealed that eating higher levels of saturated (AKA “bad”) fat had next to no effect on the heart either! What gives? For years, we’ve been told that unsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, are vital for the wellness of our body’s most vital organ. Health and fitness gurus around the globe have preached the avoidance of saturated fats, like those found in animal products, as they are “evil” and “will send us to an early grave,” but this study speaks differently. Not only may saturated fats not be as harmful as once believed, unsaturated fats may not be the miracle nutrient that we’ve so far suspected.

Does this mean that we should dump our olive oil down the drain and ditch our lunch time almonds? Should we start eating chicken fried steak for all our meals? Not at all. This study simply revealed that eating a deficit of saturated fat or an excess of unsaturated fats does not contribute to the condition of our hearts, in a good way or otherwise. Both of these fats are dietary necessities which can and should be consumed in moderation. Instead of focusing on one nutrient, we need to remove our blinders and take a look at our diets as a whole. No one nutrient holds the power to turn us from Steven Rogers into Captain America. Balance and moderation are key to a happy and healthy life, a fact which I doubt any study will soon dethrone.

What is your stance on fats?

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Claire is a 21 year student hailing from New York City. She is currently in her senior year at Hunter College, where she is finishing up her English Degree. When she's not at school, she can usually be found working behind the counter at her local bakery. Claire loves to cook and spends an embarrassing amount of time looking up recipes for every dish imaginable. She is particularly fond of trying new dishes and believes that the best way to connect with people is through sharing food. Google