Researchers Call for Review of Scientific Evidence on Dietary Guidelines for Fat

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A new meta-analysis says national dietary guidelines in the US and the UK to restrict fat intakes, and saturated fat in particular, are not supported by scientific evidence and thus should be re-examined, reports the FoodNavigator.  Dietary guidelines around fat intake have been in the spotlight for several years, with the public conversation around the macronutrients changing from “fat is bad/low-fat is good” to a more nuanced discussion of ‘good fats” like the long chain omega-3s and “bad fats” like trans fats, the report said.

Three previous meta-analyses examining the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective cohort studies failed to support the dietary recommendations made by US and British committees in 1977 and 1983, respectively.  A new meta-analysis, which examined data from 89,801 participants of epidemiological studies, also found no supporting evidence for the recommendations in order to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD).

The three previous meta-analysis have looked at data from RCTs available to the dietary guideline committees, currently available data from RCTs, and data from epidemiological studies available to the dietary guideline committees.  The new meta-analysis closes the loop by examining all epidemiological studies to date, including those published since the dietary guidelines were formulated.  The UK-based scientists found seven studies (with almost 90,000 participants) met their inclusion criteria.  The data revealed that there were no statistically significant associations between total or saturated fat consumption and coronary heart diesease (CHD) deaths. 

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