Jimmy Buffett composed a hit song in 1978 about a cheeseburger that he called “heaven on earth with an onion slice.” Most of the medical opinions since then have been steeped in warnings about the dangers of a high fat diet. The general consensus from health experts back then was that a diet high in saturated and polyunsaturated fat was sure to cause heart disease. That meant that if you added cheeseburgers to your diet you would probably find the emergency room before you found paradise.
A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges conventional thinking on the health risks associated with saturated fat. This new study indicates that no evidence has been found that links eating saturated fat to increased cardiac events. The debate among health experts will certainly continue but, according to this new study, the notion that saturated fat is inherently bad for you is rooted in fallacy.
One thing that doctors and nutritionists generally agree on is that moderation is important. Recent findings do not link saturated fat to heart issues, but that does not mean that you can eat all the steak, butter, and other foods that are rich in saturated fat that you want. However, other kinds of fat pose serious health risks and can lead to obesity. Research has shown that trans fat found in processed foods has been linked to heart-related complications.
Saturated fat may not directly cause a heart attack, but there are some foods that can help increase heart health. Consider adding nuts, grains, fish, and extra virgin olive oil to your diet. These foods have been clinically shown to reduce heart attacks and strokes when added to a balanced diet.
So, for now, go ahead and enjoy that cheeseburger in paradise, but remember to keep all things in moderation.
For more information on heart health, check out our cardiology guide and other resources on our website.