A new study commissioned by the British Heart Foundation has added yet more conflicting evidence to that which already exists in the nutrition field when it comes to the question “what is a healthy diet”. The study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (2014) 160(6):398-406 looked at the data from 76 different studies which encompassed nearly 660,000 subjects. These studies examined fatty acid intakes and this has now added to a growing body of evidence that suggests that the link between saturated fatty acid intake and cardiovascular disease may not be as clear as was initially stated.
Science and nutrition advice
It is no surprise that this type of thing happens from time to time. Science can never prove anything and the best we will get is a weight of evidence that suggests one viewpoint or another. The problem occurs because the media get hold of one piece of research such as this and then report that scientists now say “it is OK to eat saturated fat”. This study is not saying that at all but you can guarantee that is how it will be reported. What is required in these situations is a good understanding of all the current literature in the field of lipids and health. I use the term lipids, because fatty acids are a type of lipid; not that you’d know that if you are learning from the popular press. It is for this reason that you end up with so much confusion, especially in the leisure industry. I wouldn’t mind betting that over the next few days you will see blogs from so called, and self-appointed “industry experts” stating how yet again science has got it wrong and you should be listening to them.
The saying a little knowledge is a dangerous thing is never truer than in these types of scenarios. These “experts” are working with limited knowledge and understanding so you are therefore getting a limited viewpoint. Diet has been confusing for the general public for as long as I can remember. Yet when I work with clients they are always amazed at how straightforward healthy nutrition can be. I see my job as a registered nutritionist/scientist as being aware of the current evidence base and then converting that knowledge into advice that is practical and evidence based for my clients. A lot of so called industry experts and nutritionist (not registered or properly qualified) think their role is to impress the public with pseudo-science and create a reliance on their schemes and diets. This then guarantees a regular income stream and celebrity status. My advice would always be read the studies yourself, at least the abstract, and see what you think has been uncovered. If you need further clarification ask a properly qualified registered nutritionist or dietitian. If you would like to receive further nutrition and weight loss tips why not sign up for the FREE seven video series by completing the simple form below.