The fats restriction largely stemmed from the fact that saturated fat was once thought to be a major culprit in heart disease – and this somehow extended to all fats. But in recent years, it seems that saturated fat may not be so bad, and may even be good in some ways (as in its effects on HDL or “good” cholesterol), or at least neutral. This is especially true when compared to a diet high in refined carbs, which do nothing for cardiovascular risk, except possibly increase it. In fact, refined carbs and added sugars, which have typically been the alternative to fats, are linked to a laundry list of health ailments.
The previous restrictions led us to make all sorts of crazy diet decisions, like thinking Snackwells were a healthy choice.
“Placing limits on total fat intake has no basis in science and leads to all sorts of wrong industry and consumer decisions,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, one of the authors of the new paper. “Modern evidence clearly shows that eating more foods rich in healthful fats like nuts, vegetable oils, and fish have protective effects, particularly for cardiovascular disease. Other fat-rich foods, like whole milk and cheese, appear pretty neutral; while many low-fat foods, like low-fat deli meats, fat-free salad dressing, and baked potato chips, are no better and often even worse than full-fat alternatives. It’s the food that matters, not its fat content.”