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Does Saturated Fat Really Cause Heart Disease?

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People Who Eat ‘Bad Fat’ Foods Aren’t at Greater Heart Risk, Says Study

Steak grilling on barbecueSaturated fat has long been vilified as a heart-health risk. Steak, butter, pizza, cheese… these saturated fat indulgences can raise your level of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your risk for heart and stroke.

However, new evidence published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine failed to find that people who ate more saturated fat in their diet had more heart disease than people who consumed lower levels. The study also did not find that people who ate healthy unsaturated fat (found in nuts, vegetable oils and fish) were more protected from heart disease.

So if heart disease risk is the same among people who eat lots of saturated fat and those who don’t, then why not just load up on chocolate, processed foods and cheeseburgers?

Not so fast.

A professor at the Harvard School of Public Health warns that the findings aren’t a “green light” to eat saturated fat-rich foods. He said that people who cut down on fats tend to eat more bread and other refined carbohydrates that can be bad for cardiovascular health.

And focusing on avoiding or incorporating a single nutrient into the diet is an outdated dietary approach, says one expert.

A balanced diet that incorporates whole foods (fruits, vegetables and foods that aren’t too altered from their original state) is the way to go, say the nutrition experts at PreDiabetes Centers.

Learn more about a healthful diet.

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