From butter to lard, bacon to beef, fat made the news in 2014. Healthcare professionals around the globe chimed in with their opinions on the groundbreaking saturated fat meta-analysis, published last spring in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Experts began changing their minds about the health benefits of a low-fat diet. It may not be as good for your heart as everyone assumed. Sustainable Malaysian palm oil has emerged as one of the healthier heroes in these conversations.

In her 2014 wrap-up article, Fat and Sugar: the Best and Worst of 2014, U.S. News & World Report Reporter Anna Medaris Miller described why low-fat diets are becoming history. She quoted Tulane University Researcher Lydia Bazzano, part of a team whose groundbreaking research helped launch the debate: “Not all fat is good, but certainly good fats shouldn’t be limited.”

Miller also quoted Dr. Jonny Bowden, a respected nutritionist who is now leading what he calls, “a mission to redeem the besmirched reputation of saturated fat.” Earlier this year, Bowden noted that, “There have been 21 studies concluding there is zero association between dietary saturated fat and increased heart disease risk.”

Further in the article, Miller noted that researchers have concluded that heart health recommendations to eat less saturated fats don’t seem to be supported by studies. However, she added that trans fats remain in the dog house.

The research that got people talking about saturated fat

In a meta-analysis entitled, Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk, published in the March 18, 2014 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers concluded that current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and low consumption of total saturated fats. Essentially this review, which involved more than 70 studies looking at dietary fat intake and circulating fatty acid levels, did not find an association between total saturated fatty acids and coronary risk. Nor did the researchers find any significant associations between cardiovascular disease risk and dietary intake of long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs.

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A nutrient-dense fat and cooking oil alternative

Experts advise eating nutrient-rich fats. Sustainable Malaysian palm oil is considered to be one of the world’s healthiest cooking oils. It has 30 times more pro-vitamin A (beta carotene) than carrots, and is nature’s richest source of vitamin E tocotrienols, which studies have shown support brain and heart health. It is also non-GMO.

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