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Fatty foods may not lead to early death

Fatty foods may not lead to early death

When you're thinking about overhauling the way you eat to be healthier, there are some obvious foods most people cut. Top of the list are things like butter and cream, as it's been drummed into us all that low fat is best. But a new study has suggested that people who cram saturated fat down their throats are no more likely to die early than those who shun it.

The findings have been published in the British Medical Journal and saw researchers looks at medical records from hundreds of thousands of patients. Despite detailed analysis there was no statistical link between those who munched on high saturated fat foods like butter and strokes, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

This is interesting, as it means guidelines on how people should eat might need to be changed. Since the early 80s there have been warnings about having a diet too rich in fatty meat, full-fat milk, cheese and cream, with the suggestion it was better to get energy from carbohydrates. But it now seems that this isn't actually the case, with a whole new way of eating opening up to people.

"It is now time for the UK Government to grasp the nettle and stop an uncontrolled experiment, which has gone global and may have had bad outcomes in terms of the obesity explosion and creating a more unhealthy nation with the current idea of 'healthy eating'," Professor Iain Broom, of the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, said.

A team at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, looked at 12 studies involving thousands of people. They were seeing if there were any links between saturated fat and health problems, but despite a number of conditions being checked none were found. There was also no reason to suggest these kinds of diets caused an early death, although the group added they didn't have the right data to definitely rule out a higher risk of death from coronary heart disease.

Some academics have poured scorn on the findings, insisting people could be in grave danger if they take it to mean they can eat whatever they like.

"It would be foolish to interpret these findings to suggest that it is OK to eat lots of fatty meat, lashings of cream and oodles of butter," Professor Tom Sanders, of King’s College London, told British newspaper The Independent.

"Death rates from cardiovascular disease have fallen in the UK by about 55 per cent since 1997, despite the rise in obesity."

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