Having played the bad role for a long time, saturated fat and its influence on the risk of coronary heart disease is now being questioned. “Bad fats” might just not be as harmful as we had thought. Researchers in the nutrition field agree that saturated fats increase LDL levels (low density lipoproteins) in the blood, or “bad cholesterol”. However, LDL increase might not be the only important factor to consider. Other parameters should also be analysed when it comes to studying the impact on risks of coronary heart disease. It is also relevant to know that saturated fats also increase HDL levels (high density lipoproteins) in the blood, or “good cholesterol”. The message that is being conveyed more and more is that food as a whole should be considered and not just one element of it.
Since 2010, research suggests that saturated fats are no longer the prime culprits. A meta-analysis (a study that combines the results of several independent studies) has shown no link between saturated fat intake and the risk of coronary heart disease. More recently, a study published in 2014 shows that saturated fatty acids in dairy products reduced the risk of coronary heart diseases.
How is this possible? This is a question many will be asking after reading this article. I can already hear comments about those ever-changing nutritional recommendations. To this question I only have one answer: science is continually evolving in all areas including the nutrition field. The more studies that are done the more discoveries we will make.
What is the impact on the food industry?
According to Le Journal de Montréal, one of the wider trends in 2015 will be the end of fat-free foods. With such studies being published, it is possible to believe that saturated fatty acids will no longer be the villains. Nutrition experts have even gone so far as to say that coconut oil, cocoa butter and camelina oil will be very trendy fats this year.
Does this mean we have to add foods high in saturated fats to our menu? I don’t believe so. Further research needs to be done to confirm those findings about fatty acids. I think we should offer diverse, tasty and nutritious food items, regardless of the food industry current trends and no matter the type of clientele. Those are the three basic principles to be respected for healthy eating, and they are timeless!