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‘The Big Fat Surprise’ says saturated fats not as bad for the heart after all

According to a report from CNN, investigative reporter Nina Teicholz has written a book titled, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”

In the book, Teicholz, who reportedly began her career as food critic in 2000, argues that saturated fat is not as bad for the heart as previously thought, despite numerous warnings from health professionals over the last several decades to avoid foods high in saturated fats.

“For decades, we have been told that the best possible diet involves cutting back on fat, especially saturated fat, and that if we are not getting healthier or thinner it must be because we are not trying hard enough. But what if the low-fat diet is itself the problem? What if the very foods we’ve been denying ourselves—the creamy cheeses, the sizzling steaks—are themselves the key to reversing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease?” reads the description of the book, according to Amazon.com.

In an interview with Dr. Frank Lipman, Teicholz says that “avoiding fats has led to eating more carbohydrates…and this shift has led to today’s diabetes and obesity epidemics.” She continues, “cutting back on saturated fat has also meant that we are now eating far more vegetable oils, like soybean, canola and corn…When heated, they oxidize and cause inflammation and gastric damage.”

Teicholz also points out that new science has changed our understanding of the link between saturated fats and cholesterol. “The new science shows that certain subfractions of LDL are more accurate [as a predictor of heart disease]—and saturated fat has a good effect on these,” she says. “Plus, saturated fat is the only kind of food that is known to increase HDL, the ‘good’ kind of cholesterol.”

There are many, however, who are skeptical of Teicholz’s findings.

As quoted by CNN, Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, says that the concept that saturated fats are not really that harmful is “only sort of a half a truth.” He says that when you compare saturated fats to sugar, they may not look that harmful, but the science exists to prove that saturated fats are not healthy.

The American Heart Association says that consuming foods that contain saturated fats increases the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of blood cholesterol raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, foods that are high in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol — which increase your blood cholesterol even more.

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