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Yet another cardiologist says saturated fat is not a major issue

British Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra is joining other heart specialists and health researchers from around the world in trying to bust the myth that saturated fat plays a role in heart disease. In an opinion article published in the October issue of the British Medical Journal, Malhotra says that “recent prospective cohort studies have not supported any significant association between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular risk. Instead, saturated fat has been found to be protective.”

Malhotra, an interventional cardiology specialist registrar at London’s Croydon University Hospital, goes on to say, “Despite the common belief that high cholesterol is a significant risk factor for coronary artery disease, several independent population studies in healthy adults have shown that low total cholesterol is associated with cardiovascular and non-cardiac mortality, indicating that high total cholesterol is not a risk factor in a healthy population.”

Malhotra also points to the United States, where percentage calorie consumption from fat has declined from 40 percent to 30 percent in the past 30 years (although absolute fat consumption has remained the same), yet obesity has rocketed. One reason, he says, is that the food industry “compensated by replacing saturated fat with added sugar.”

Adopting a Mediterranean diet after a heart attack is almost three times as powerful in reducing mortality as taking a statin, writes Malhotra. “Doctors need to embrace prevention as well as treatment.”

In October, well-known U.S. cardiologist Stephen Sinatra was among numerous experts interviewed by ABC TV on this same subject. In that interview, Sinatra stated, “Saturated fat has been vilified for years because of the cholesterol theory.” He continued, “To vilify saturated fats I think is one of the worst things the medical profession has done.”

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