Category Archives: Diet

Saturated Fat Found Not Related to Heart Disease

Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

A recent article from the Annals of Internal Medicine had found that saturated fat was not related to heart disease. That was after a BMJ article said roughly the same thing.

Almost all guidelines around the world still ask everyone to avoid saturated fat. Amazingly, even after all the recent data, the British Heart Foundation had no plans to alter the guidelines as yet.

This is a huge study looking at the relationship between both self-reported saturated fat and measured saturated fat, and risk of heart disease and stroke. No relationship was found.

A few other important observations of the study:

1. Omega-3 fatty acids (fat from fish) are good for you.

2. Trans-fatty acid (fat from margarine, biscuits and other baked products) are bad for you.

3. Fat from dairy products are good for you.

4. Arachidonic acid (omega-6 fatty acids from chicken, eggs and beef) are good for you.

The points about fish and trans-fat are probably not surprising to most of us. However, for too long we had been advising patients to avoid milk and egg. Those food are turning out to be really good for us!

What I usually advise my patients is to eat a Mediterranean diet, with lots of non-starchy vegetables, fish, nuts and olive oil. Milk and eggs are alright. Avoid sugar and refined white starch such as white bread and white rice.

But in view of the latest evidence, I would not say no to the chicken and the beef. Bon appetit!

Advertisements

Sweden just endorsed the Low Carbs High Fat Diet

Finally, Sweden has done it: in the latest expert committee convened, it has formally endorsed the low carbs high fat diet. Ever since Dr Atkins advocated the high fat and low carbohydrate diet, many people have used it to lose weight. The only drawback apparently is the boredom: patients are sick at eating cheese omelet every day. Unfortunately, Dr Atkins did not like publishing in main-stream medical journals. It created a management gap on obesity: while patients who went on the diet definitely got impressive results, doctors remained extremely skeptical.

Well for the past 10 years many studies had been done and had all found one thing: low carbs high fat diets are better than the traditionally-advised low fat high carbs diet. Patients lose more weight, has better blood sugar (which we expect) but watch this: patients who are taking a low carbs high fat diet also has better cholesterol levels!

The evidence has been so overwhelming that I am surprised that we doctors have resisted it for so long. Unfortunately doctors are all bound by the Hippocratic Oath which asks us to always respect our teachers. This may sometimes make us unwilling to challenge the “conventional wisdom”.

Indeed for all my patients with diabetes, I strongly advise the low carbs high fat diet. However I advise them to eat the healthier fats such as fats from fish, nuts, olive oil etc. Indeed a very Mediterranean diet which has been shown to save lives.