Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and reported on by The New York Times, says that sugary foods and excess carbohydrates, not saturated fat, are the main culprits in the build-up of artery-clogging particles.
That conclusion from researchers led by Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury at Cambridge University in England adds to the growing body of evidence that 50-year emphasis on severe reduction of fat consumption to combat heart disease has led, ironically, to an increase in cardiovascular problems.
The reason is that as people have reduced their caloric intake of fat, they have increased their caloric intake of carbs. Evidence has mounted over the years that carbohydrates are a main contributor to arterial inflammation because they raise blood sugar.
Chowdhury and his colleagues did a meta-analysis of 80 studies that had involved a total of more than 500,000 people. They looked at what they ate and measures of fatty acids in their blood and tissue. One issue they examined was whether people who consumed polyunsaturated fat, such as fish oil, enjoyed better heart health.
What they found, according to The Times, was that while trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils could be linked to heart disease, saturated fats could not. Those fats are typically found in butter, meat, and cheese–foods that health experts for years have warned could lead to heart problems if consumed too much.
The Annals of Internal Medicine study is available at http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1846638
The New York Times article is available at http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/study-questions-fat-and-heart-disease-link/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0