The demonisation of dietary fats and saturated fat: villain or hero? Episode #346


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Is saturated fat good or bad? But doesn’t it cause cardiovascular disease? And what about the guidelines? On this week’s episode, Dr. Zoë Harcombe (@zoeharcombe) joins BJSM’s Daniel Friedman (@ddfriedman) to discuss the takeaways from The BMJ’s Food For Thought conference 2018 ( and the demonisation of dietary fats. Zoë has a PhD in public health nutrition. The full title of her thesis is: “An examination of the randomised controlled trial and epidemiological evidence for the introduction of dietary fat recommendations in 1977 and 1983: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis“. She researches in the fields of nutrition, diet, dietary advice, diet-related health and obesity and writes and talks about these topics daily - In this 30 minute conversation, Zoë discusses: The strength of evidence in nutrition research Facts about dietary fats Our current understanding of saturated fat Does saturated fat cause cardiovascular disease? Are universal dietary guidelines feasible? Further reading: Forouhi, Nita G., et al. "Dietary fat and cardiometabolic health: evidence, controversies, and consensus for guidance." BMJ361 (2018): k2139. Harcombe, Zoë. "Dietary fat guidelines have no evidence base: where next for public health nutritional advice?." Br J Sports Med 51.10 (2017): 769-774. Harcombe, Zoë, Julien S. Baker, and Bruce Davies. "Evidence from prospective cohort studies does not support current dietary fat guidelines: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Br J Sports Med 51.24 (2017): 1743-1749. Harcombe, Zoë, et al. "Evidence from randomised controlled trials does not support current dietary fat guidelines: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Open Heart 3.2 (2016): e000409. Harcombe Z US dietary guidelines: is saturated fat a nutrient of concern? Br J Sports Med Published Online First: 14 August 2018. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-099420 Malhotra, Aseem, Rita F. Redberg, and Pascal Meier. "Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions." (2017): bjsports-2016.

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