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Saturated fat link to heart disease is a myth, claims cardiology registrar

Saturated fat link to heart disease is a myth, claims cardiology registrar
24th October 2013

Saturated fat from foods such as cakes, butter and meats may not be as bad for a person's health as previously thought.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiology registrar at Croydon University Hospital, London, said the risk presented from such produces is being overstated.

He believes that fat is focused on too much when people should really be looking at sugar.

"It's time to bust the myth of the role of saturated fat in heart disease," he wrote.

"The mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades."

He added that a link between heart conditions and saturated fat have never been supported by scientific evidence, but the association has led to food companies substituting fat levels with sugars.

Dr Malhotra also said that enjoying a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fruit and fish is far more effective for people recovering from a heart attack that statins.

A recent joint study from the London School of Economics, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine found that walking can be as good for people with heart complaints as drugs.

Researchers looked at trials involving more than 340,000 people and found that regular exercise was as beneficial to people recovering from cardiac problems as medications and even outperformed some stroke medications.

However, the team stressed that patients should not look at exercise as an alternative to medications and must continue to take them if they have been prescribed.

According to the NHS, moderate exercise each week can lower the risk of serious illness by 50 per cent and premature death by 30 per cent.

Previous studies have also found that physical activity reduces the chances of a stoke by 27 per cent.

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