When it comes to cholesterol, it sometimes feels like there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what actually helps manage the condition.
While people are often told to follow a low-fat diet, a UK health charity has suggested that such warnings could have “disastrous health consequences.
In fact, the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration have gone as far as to say that there needs to be a major overhaul when it comes to the current dietary guidelines.
A lot of studies have hinted that eating foods that contain lower levels of fat are better when it comes to managing cholesterol levels, but the recent research found that this simply isn’t the case.
“Evidence from multiple randomised controlled trials have revealed that a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet is superior to a low-fat diet for weight loss and cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” the study suggested.
“An exhaustive analysis of 53 randomised controlled trials involving 68,128 participants conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded ‘when compared with dietary interventions of similar intensity, evidence from randomised controlled trials does not support low fat diets over other dietary interventions for long term weight loss.
“In weight loss trails, higher fat weight loss interventions led to significantly greater weight loss than low-fat interventions.’”
The report also suggests that eating whole foods such as seeds, nuts, fish and eggs that are full of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants were a good way of protecting people against the harms of fatty foods.
It also hinted that diets heavy in full-fat dairy products such as milks, cheeses and yogurts lowered the chances of obesity and that people should avoid foods that are labelled “low fat”, “Low cholesterol” or “lite”.
They wrote: “A 2014 study concluded: ‘Participants in the highest tertile of whole-fat dairy intakes (milk, cheese, yogurt) had significantly lower odds for being obese.’’
Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Aseem Malhotra, consultant cardiologist and founding member of the Public Health Collaboration, said that suggesting people eat low-fat foods to manage cholesterol levels was a mistake.
“Sadly this unhelpful advice continues to be perpetuated,” he said.
“We must urgently change the message to the public to reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Eat fat to get slim. Don’t fear fat. Fat is your friend. It’s now truly time to bring back the fat.”
The Guardian suggested that the report has seen huge backlash from within the scientific community, with many health professionals stating that their findings simply weren’t true.
Professor John Wass of the Royal College of the Royal College of Physicians said there was “good evidence that saturated fat increases cholesterol”.
“What is needed is a balanced diet, regular physical activity and a normal healthy weight,” he said.
“To quote selective studies risks misleading the public.”