The twisted tale of saturated fat
Recent research results mandate a careful re‐evaluation of the widespread belief that dietary saturated fat is harmful. Specifically, multiple recent reports find no association between dietary saturated fat intakes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). There is, however, a consistent pattern of increased risk for both CVD and type‐2 diabetes associated with increased levels of saturated fatty acids (SFA) in circulating lipids. This raises the important question as to what contributes to increased levels of saturated fat in the blood? Whereas dietary intake of saturated fats and serum levels of SFA show virtually no correlation, an increased intake of carbohydrate is associated with higher levels of circulating SFA. This leads to the paradoxical conclusion that dietary saturated fat is not the problem; rather it's the over‐consumption of carbohydrate relative to the individual's ability to metabolize glucose without resorting to de novo lipogenesis. From this perspective, insulin resistant states like metabolic syndrome and type‐2 diabetes can be viewed as carbohydrate intolerance, in which a high carbohydrate intake translates to increased serum SFA and therefore increased risk.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 2: School of Medicine (emeritus), University of California, Davis, Davis, CA
Publication date: May 1, 2012