The conservative view on saturated fat has been that it is harmful. Lately fat has, however, gotten a better reputation. There are now people promoting even saturated fat as being healthy. So what should you believe?
There is plenty of research showing that fat is a necessity if you’re going to stay healthy, but is all fat healthy? That is exactly what the reviewed research investigated (Livingstone KM, et. al.,2013). The participants were 2398 men, aged 40 to 59 years. Researchers followed up with the participants at five year intervals for an average of 17.8 years.
At the start of the study, higher saturated fat consumption was associated with higher systolic blood pressure and also higher diastolic blood pressure. After a 17.8 year follow-up, the participants with higher saturated fat consumption also had a 0.51 m/s higher aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), which is a measurement of arterial stiffness. This meant that they had stiffer arteries.
The participants with higher polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption had, at the start of the study both lower systolic blood pressure and lower diastolic blood pressure. After a 17.8 year follow-up, they had a 0.63 m/s lower aPWV, which means they had lower arterial stiffness.
The conclusion is that saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat have the opposite effect. The polyunsaturated fats, which you find in nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil and fish, are healthy. The saturated fats you find in meat and dairy products are unhealthy.
To read the original abstract, click on the reference below.
Livingstone KM, Givens DI, Cockcroft JR, Pickering JE, Lovegrove JA. Is fatty acid intake a predictor of arterial stiffness and blood pressure in men? Evidence from the Caerphilly Prospective Study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Feb 13. pii: S0939-4753(12)00282-7. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.12.002.