Studies Show the Link Between Saturated Fats and Heart Disease May Not be There

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Senior citizens are usually tasked with managing an assortment of health problems, with one of them being heart disease. But new research has found that the link between heart disease and eating saturated fats may be more myth than fact.

Saturated Fats: Explained

While it’s fairly common knowledge that saturated fats are one of the “bad” fats (the other kind being trans saturated fats), what they are and what they do aren’t as well known.

Saturated fats have their carbon atoms loaded with hydrogen atoms, which causes them to take on a solid state at room temperature. They’re found in a lot of foods, with some of the most common being butter, cheese, lamb, lard, pork, tallow, fatty beef, and others.

The Long-Accepted Evidence

For decades, researchers and the public accepted that eating a lot of saturated fats led to more low density lipoprotein (LDL) in the bloodstream, which was theorized to negatively impact the heart’s ability to work efficiently. In plainer terms, more saturated fats meant more “bad” cholesterol, and more “bad” cholesterol meant a higher risk of things like heart attacks and strokes.

And Then Everything Changed

An NPR article has shed new light on the matter, calling attention to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine. The researchers, led by Rajiv Chowdhury, are arguing that ingesting a diet high with saturated fats does not lead to a higher chance of heart disease as once thought.

The team pored over 72 different studies that were performed on the link between eating saturated fats and the increased risk of heart disease, and found something startling: there is no reason to believe that the supposed link is there, and there’s no evidence that eating foods lower in saturated fats is an effective way of lower the risk of heart disease.

Two other nuggets they unearthed in their analysis were:

  • No enough evidence to warrant advising people—not just seniors specifically— that eating foods higher in polyunsaturated fats rather than saturated fats is a good way of lessening the risk of heart disease
  • Fatty acids behaved differently with respect to heart disease, instead of the expected same result every time, making them slightly unpredictable in their consumption and performance
  • What Seniors Should Do Instead

    The NPR article has gleaned the following bits from the article:

  • A reductionist approach (reducing amounts in one area to increase the effects in another) isn’t as effective as once thought to be
  • Saturated fats—and the effect they have on the human body—make up just a small part of the dietary equation, and it’s a rather complex equation that’s still not fully understood
  • The worst thing seniors and all people can do is just ingest too many calories, as that continues to be one of the key things that leads to an increased risk of heart disease