Do you love cheese and butter and every other delicious food filled with fat? Of course you do. So get ready for the best news we’ve heard today all year: A new study says old dietary recommendations that made us reduced-fat obsessed don’t have much scientific evidence behind them.
Allow us to explain: In the late ’70s and early ’80s, the U.S. and U.K. introduced dietary guidelines that instructed us to eat less fats in order to lessen our risk of heart disease. But until now, there was no further analysis on the evidence behind the recommendations. We just begrudgingly accepted it and put mozzerella sticks on the naughty list.
But now, researchers decided to go back and review the recommendations. As Mashable reports, the results, published in the journal Open Heart, showed that the low-fat laws we’ve been living by were never backed up with randomized controlled trials. Researchers combing through the older studies found no difference in health for patients who followed a reduced-fat diet versus those who didn’t.
According to the journal, the antiquated dietary recommendations were to reduce overall fat consumption by 30% of total energy intake, and limit saturated fat intake to only 10%. But experts at the time even acknowledged the evidence was not conclusive, writing in the guideline documents things like, “there will undoubtedly be many people who will say we have not proven our point,” and that the results were “a strong consensus of opinion.”
So what dooes this new finding mean for us today? Well, it doesn’t mean saturated fat is necessarily good for you and that you should be replacing your fruits and veggies with mac ‘n cheese. Many people in the medical community (including our YouDocs columnists Dr. Oz & Dr. Roizen) still advise we limit saturated fat intake, based on newer evidence it affects cholesterol levels. And trans fats are always a no-no. But when it comes to fat in general, we can ease up a little bit.
Remember, some healthy fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which you can find in nuts, seeds, avocados, and vegetable oils, can actually help lower overall fat levels in the body and help increase muscle mass. Good fats also keep you fuller for longer, help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and keep your skin and hair healthy. There’s a reason there’s a pending avocado shortage, people.
The biggest problem though with the dated obsession with reduced-fat is that most reduced- or low-fat products contain other preservatives and sugar to mmic the consistency and flavor of full-fat versions. Plus, you’re more likely to overindulge when you think you’re eating a “healthier” version. So when you’re running from fat, you’re diving right into an sugary insulin spike, which will just end up setting you back weightwise anyway.
We’re interested to see how the medical community as a whole reacts, and what new advice experts will dole out. But for now, we’re going to order that egg sandwich with full-fat American cheese and not feel an ounce of guilt!