For decades, doctors have told us that saturated fat raises heart disease risk. But according to a new analysis of 27 past studies, people who ate lots of red meat, cheese, and other saturated-fat-packed foods had no more cardiovascular troubles than those who did not.
This study backs a shift in thinking about such fats, pointing to the fact that the focus on fats banished foods like red meat, chicken (with skin), and palm and coconut oil – which are a healthy part of the diet when eaten in moderation. More doctors are shifting the full blame on sugar, salt, and carbs as the cause of heart disease.
"The best ways to reduce heart disease risk through diet are to restrict calories and to follow a Mediterranean diet that's rich in vegetables, fruit, and canola oil," says Dr. Paul Thompson, chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut. The Mediterranean diet, which has been proven to be just about the healthiest for the heart, is relatively low in sugar and carbs, but somewhat high in fat compared to your average American diet.
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