Recent headlines have been stating that fat isn’t as bad for us as we originally thought, however scientists say this conclusion is misleading. The reports suggesting that fat isn’t bad for us came from a study back in March carried out by Cambridge University.
The team at Cambridge suggested that unsaturated fat found in olive oils and fish were not necessarily any better for us, overturning the assumptions of decades. The conclusion was that dietary guidelines should be rethought and that both saturated and unsaturated fat may not be as bad for us as once suspected.
Peaking the media’s interest, the study was widely publicised with headlines suggesting that fatty foods were OK to eat. While the authors of the study have not changed their conclusions, they did make some corrections to their work.
Dietary studies are notoriously difficult as those taking part often omit to mention certain foods they’ve been eating. Studies also look at a finite amount of time – often a day, week or month – and make assumptions for years to come.
Scientific testing has revealed that diets high in saturated fat lead to high levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol – the type that clogs arteries. Some saturated fats however also raise levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Studies also reveal that those who eat a lot of saturated fat also tend to have less active hobbies and are more likely to smoke – so the picture is complicated.
Prof Andy Slater, head of nutritional sciences at the University of Nottingham points out the key causes of obesity:
“Obesity is not about carbohydrate intake – body fat comes from dietary fat.”
He went on to explain that snacking and portion sizes are at the core of the problem, with many of us eating high calorie foods without even noticing.
“Eating fewer calories is the only effective way of losing weight.”