In his December 2 BusinessInsider.com column, Authority Nutrition CEO Chris Gunnars reminded readers that saturated fats, such as those found in sustainable Malaysian palm oil, are no longer thought to be unhealthy. In his column, headlined The 11 Most Destructive Nutrition Lies Ever Told, Gunners commented that the correlation between saturated fat and heart disease, “was based on highly flawed studies and political decisions that have now been proven to be completely wrong.”
Gunnar’s article echoes what other leading health and nutrition experts have been saying since March 2014, when the journal Annals of Internal Medicine published a meta-analysis of 76 scientific studies analyzing the effect of various fats on heart disease. The researchers concluded that there is no clear evidence that eating more polyunsaturated fats and fewer total saturated fats will benefit heart health.
Cardiovascular Epidemiologist Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury from the University of Cambridge, indicated that we should not be worried about the amount of saturated fat in our diets. However, Dr. Frank Hu, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard University recently stated that, “The findings should not be taken as a green light to eat more steak, butter and other foods rich in saturated fat.” He said that looking at individual fats and other nutrient groups in isolation could be misleading because when people cut down on fats they tend to eat more bread, cold cereal and other refined carbohydrates that can also be bad for cardiovascular health.
Sustainable Malaysian palm oil, which contains a natural blend of saturated and unsaturated fats, is considered heart healthy. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that palm oil and olive oil appear to have similar neutral effects on cholesterol. Another study published in the Nutrition Journal found that people who consumed Malaysian palm oil had higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol circulating in their bloodstreams compared with those who consumed cooking oil blends that also contain canola or soy bean oil.
Robin Miller is a health and nutrition editor with more than 30 years of industry experience. She researches and writes about the nutritional benefits of palm fruit oil, with the goal of giving readers factual, science-based information that will be useful in their daily lives.