A study published in the ‘British Journal of Sports Medicine’ states that there is no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality. FILE PIC

SATURATED  fat is not unhealthy. This is a clear and unambiguous conclusion from a new meta-analysis recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), an affiliate of the world-renowned British Medical Journal (BMJ).

As highlighted in www.theoilpalm.org, leading scientists from the United Kingdom and United States have stated that the world “urgently requires a paradigm shift” in its view of saturated fat.

Despite popular belief among the public, and even medical practitioners, the conceptual diet model of saturated fat clogging human blood vessels is wrong.

But to many, this may sound revolutionary and against “received wisdom”.

In fact, this “new data” is not all that new. Scientists have been calling it to attention for some time.

Now, media outlets are seizing on the latest study results to tell an important story.

Last year, BMJ published a re-evaluation of past studies that questioned the consensus of saturated fat being bad for consumption.

Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research environmental risk unit head Dr Elena Fattore had conducted a recent review of literature and concluded that “epidemiological evidence does not support a role of saturated fatty acids, palmitic acid or palm oil in cancer development”.

Why does this matter?

These new studies confirm that saturated fats have been wrongly portrayed for decades in international media.

For many years, consumers have been told to reduce their saturated fat intake for better health, causing them to switch to low-fat diets.

This perception is constantly reinforced — meaning that many healthy fats and oils, including palm oil, have been unjustly stigmatised.

New research is changing all that: science has proven that saturated fat opponents are wrong.

What must happen now is that the new evidence must be made a mainstream thought.

The latest BJSM study could not be clearer.

It states that there is no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality, such as those caused by coronary heart disease (CHD), ischaemic stroke or Type 2 diabetes.

Other experts are just as clear in their research.

University of Cambridge senior research associate Dr Rajiv Chowdhury, who also studied the issue, says: “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and low consumption of total saturated fats.”

Wayne State University Associate Professor Dr Pramod Khosla stated that as the food industry seeks alternatives for partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils to use in solid fat formulations, palm oil may be one of the viable alternatives by virtue of its fatty acid composition.

Discussions on the effects of saturated fat must take this new evidence into consideration at every level, including the media, policymakers, regulators, industry stakeholders and consumers.

It is not just a scientific breakthrough, but a public health breakthrough as well.

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