The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a new advisory on saturated fat and declared that in some cases cutting the ‘bad’ fat from our diet is as effective as taking statins.
Millions of Australians take statins to lower cholesterol levels and reduce their risk of coronary disease.
However, the pills have been linked to a number of side effects over the years and their effectiveness has long been a subject of debate.
The AHA advisory is the culmination of years of research into the effects of saturated fat in our diets and is being hailed as a breakthrough in dietary recommendations.
While health experts have long-recommended people cut saturated fat from their diets, there are concerns people are replacing the fatty products with foods high in sugar and processed carbohydrates instead.
This increases a person’s calorie intake and LDL cholesterol levels, leaving them at risk of disease.
The AHA advisory recommends replacing saturated fats with mono- and polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
They say replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oil lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 per cent, the same amount you would get from taking statins.
“The finding doesn’t mean that people prescribed statins to lower heart disease risk should give up medication,” Dr Frank Sacks from the Harvard School of Public Health told the AHA.
“Nor should they eat too much saturated fat.
“That statin is only going to go part of the way.
“You’re going to mess up the effect of the statin if you’re eating all unhealthy foods.”