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Low Fat Diets May Increase Cardiovascular Disease


You have probably heard that you should eat a low fat diet, but there is evidence that if you replace that fat with carbohydrates that you may actually be increasing your risk for heart disease.  

Years ago the recommendation to reduce your saturated fat intake was because it was believed that consumption of saturated fat increased your risk for cardiovascular disease.  Further research has proven that to not necessarily be true and when you replace the fat with carbohydrates you increase your risk.

At the 2010 American Dietetic Associations Food and Nutrition Conference a symposium titled "The Great Fat Debate:  Is There Validity In The Age-Old Dietary Guidance?" four leading experts presented various evidence that consuming a low fat diet may be less healthy for you than those who consume a moderate fat intake.  

Dr. Alice Lichtenstein who is the director of the cardiovascular health laboratory at Tufts University states that this advice of consuming a low fat diet is based on an oversimplification of recommendations.

She also states that the emphasis should be on replacing the saturated fat and trans fats with unsaturated (healthier) fats.  

It is really the type of fat that is important here and evidence shows that if you replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat there is a reduction in risk according to Dr. Walter Willett the Chair of the Harvard School of Public Health's nutrition department.

Dr. Lewis Kuller professor of epdemiology at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health stated that we have done a great job of confusing the public and that the biggest problem in America is our eating behavior.

I couldn't agree with him more.  Our eating behavior is what drives most of our eating decisions and until we change our behaviors we will always have increasing health issues.  

Dr. Lichtenstein and Dr. Mozaffarian professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School both mentioned that we can't just look at a single nutrient or biomarker in regards to disease reduction.  

When this happens you usually have one nutrient go down while another goes up and the same problem is still there.  Nothing is fixed because there are many nutrients and actions that increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.  

Remember this the next time you want to eliminate or become fearful of a single nutrient.  This isn't always going to make things better.

Instead focus on a balanced approach and change your eating behaviors for long term health.


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