– A lot of fat in the diet is healthy

Healthy with fat diet

- A lot of fat in the diet is healthy

No clear negative effect on cholesterol

Although the fat intake in the study was higher than in most comparable studies, the researchers at UIB did not find any clear increase in LDL cholesterol, while the assumed favorable HDL cholesterol tended to increase.

This shows that most fresh probably tolerate a high intake of saturated fat as long as the quality is good and the calorie intake is not too high. Perhaps it is even healthy, according to the researchers.

It has long been known that a high intake of saturated fats can be hazardous to health over time.

However, researchers at the University of Bergen now argue that this is not true.

A Norwegian diet study conducted by researchers at the KG Jebsen Center for Diabetes Research at the University of Bergen concludes that a high intake of fat and saturated fats does not increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers questioned the validity of a diet hypothesis that has dominated for over half a century: fat and especially saturated fat in the diet are harmful to most people.

In the study, 38 men with stomach fever were placed on a three-month diet dominated by either carbohydrates or fat, where about half of the fat proportion was saturated.

Both groups also had similar intake of energy, proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids and the type of foods, and added sugar was reduced to a minimum.

The fat amount in the stomach region, the liver and around the heart, as well as a number of other key risk factors for cardiovascular disease was then measured. The measurements showed that the two diets had striking effects:

– The high fat diet participants had significant improvements in the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as fat storage, blood pressure, blood fat, insulin and long-term blood sugar, professor and cardiologist Ottar Nygård contributed to the study, in the research article.

Associate Professor Simon Dankel led the study with Clinic Director and Professor Gunnar Mellgren at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen. Dankel believes that your study shows favorable or neutral health effects of fat rich dairy products.

We should also pay more attention to the obesity and diabetes epidemic we face, which is associated with cardiovascular disease regardless of the expected adverse effects of saturated fat on cholesterol, says Dankel.

Critical to the study

Inger Ottestad, Postdoctoral and Clinical Nutrition Physiologist at the Department of Nutrition Sciences, Department of Medical Basic Sciences at the University of Oslo, is critical of the study.

The postdoctor is referring to the article as she, along with Jacob Juel Christensen, Ph. d. student at UiO, and Ingunn Narverud, postdoctoral at the National Competency Service for Family Hyperkolesterolemia, OUS, has prepared. They think the researchers produce the results in an unfortunate way, and that more statements become misleading when you only tell half the story.

The researchers write in their scientific article that they assumed that a diet dominated by either carbohydrates or fat would reverse fat storage and affect a variety of risk markers differently. The researchers found no differences in this study, and they concluded that they did not find that different composition of the diet affected the markers differently. What we responded to is how findings from this study are communicated to the population.

– After three months there are favorable changes to a number of risk markers in both groups, which can be attributed to the fact that the participants in both groups eat less calories and lose weight. If one excludes mentioning weight reduction, and if it is not mentioned that the favorable changes in the high-fat group also occur in the group who ate more carbohydrates, it can be perceived that the beneficial effects in the high fat group are due to high fat or higher intake of saturated fat, but it’s wrong. Weight loss can explain most of the changes found in this study, Ottestad believes.

– Best effect with low carbohydrates

Dankel says that they wanted to look into this because more studies in recent years have sowed doubt that dietary fat and especially saturated fat are unhealthy.

Many studies have suggested that saturated fat from, among other things, butter is a neutral or even beneficial source of energy as part of an otherwise healthy diet, Dankel claims.

Researchers wanted to provide a solid research contribution to this by studying the health effect of having fat and especially saturated fat as the main source of energy in a moderate and usually healthy diet.

– The research basis shows that overweight, obesity and diabetes often have the best effect of low carbohydrate diet, and especially where healthy or processed carbohydrates are reduced. In our study, we significantly reduced healthy carbohydrates in both groups, and this explains that the groups had a corresponding reduction in disease risk, Dankel explains..

The diet had different beneficial effects on cholesterol, and there was also a difference between individuals, but what this may have to say for each individual, they must research more, according to Dankel.

– Weight loss can explain many of the beneficial effects in this study, but it does not explain the beneficial effect participants had on the “bad” LDL cholesterol in the group who ate the most carbohydrates. This change is not seen in the group most fat, and where the intake of saturated fats was highest. Different effects on LDL cholesterol can therefore be related to the different composition of the diet in the two groups, says Ottestad and continues:

– It is known that saturated fats increase LDL cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular disease. It is therefore incorrect to suggest that this study may freshen saturated fats or that saturated fats may be slightly healthy – as has been claimed when the group that consumes most fat and saturated fats does not achieve the same beneficial effect on LDL cholesterol. The group that consumes the most fat and has the highest intake of saturated fats comes the worst in this study.

Ottestad recommends that people follow first and foremost the food recommendations from the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

– Norwegians eat more saturated fat than recommended, and the intake of this should therefore be reduced in the population, says Ottestad.

– Norwegians should emphasize a diet of fat found in fish, vegetable oils, such as rapeseed oil, olive oil, and soft margarines, nuts, seeds, avocado, mayonnaise and more. At the same time, we should limit the intake of saturated fat found in meat, butter and other fatty dairy products, and fat from certain vegetable sources, such as palm and coconut oil, says Ottestad.

– The intake of fat generally increased in the period 2000-2015 from 34 to 36 energy percentages, after being relatively unchanged for more than ten years, according to Ottestad.

– Recommended intake of fat is 25-40 energy percentages, which means that the intake of the population is in accordance with the recommendation, but this does not apply to the quality of the fat we eat. V you have too much intake of saturated fat, she explains.

– About the total intake of calories

– Weight gain is due to a higher intake of calories than you consume. It is important to understand; It is the total intake of calories over time that is too high at weight gain, and this can be too high both from healthy and unhealthy foods. When you gain weight, you simply eat more than you need, explains Ottestad.

Ottestad believes

  • The striking effect of both study arms is attributable to calorie restriction / weight loss
  • There is a beneficial effect on LDL cholesterol in the carbohydrate group that does not occur in the high fat group. This means that high-fat diet is generally poorer in the study
  • It is unfortunate to communicate only beneficial effects in the high-fat group – when the same beneficial changes occur in the high carbohydrate group and when overall this group is the worst in this study.

She believes that many people will be able to avoid weight gain or gain weight loss by reducing the intake of sugar and fat foods, such as candy, chocolate, soda and potato chips. She believes that although sugar is probably an important contributor, sugar intake can not explain only the overweight in the population.

Ottestad will also emphasize that the recent study in Bergen does not investigate whether to cut saturated fat or not to achieve weight reduction.

– In this study, both groups achieve an equal weight loss – because they eat fewer calories. It can not be used to say anything about saturated fat and weight.

Too high sugar intake

– In the case of carbohydrates, a high intake of foods containing fiber is recommended. This includes whole grain products such as coarse bread, whole grain rice and pasta, fruit, berries, vegetables and legumes. At the same time, the intake of sugar should be reduced, Ottestad says.

According to the post doctor, the intake of carbohydrates was reduced in the period 2000-2015, with 52-47 energy percentages, and the intake is in the lower recommended area that is 45-60 energy percentages.

At the same time, we still have a higher intake of sugar than recommended, but it is pleasing that fiber intake has increased in the period 2000-2015, 24-27 grams per day. The intake in 2015 was within the recommended range, 25-35 grams per day, says Ottestad.

– Avoid processed food

Based on the research findings, Dankel recommends overweighting, however, reducing the intake of carbohydrates and also increasing the intake of both saturated and unsaturated fats for better health.

– Yes, especially to reduce the intake of processed forms of carbohydrates, which also often add added fat. However, according to our and many other studies, one can also live well on a high-carbohydrate diet, as long as the carbohydrate sources are less processed and the diet is generally moderate and nutritious.

– We should think much more about basing the diet on proper raw materials and vegetables, and teaching us to cook proper food with more substance and chewing resistance, the researcher advises.

Reduce calorie intake

Ottestad believes that those who do not eat a lot of unhealthy foods will benefit from reducing the intake of other foods, such as reducing the amount of food for dinner.

– Input of fewer calories than consuming leads to weight loss, as also this study shows. Neither sugar nor saturated can explain obesity in the population, the postdoctor believes.

Therefore, she recommends reducing calorie intake in combination with burning more calories.

– Then increase activity level and train, Ottestad ends.

The study from the University of Bergen is also published in the journal of nutrition research, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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