For nearly three decades we've been told to avoid fatty foods, like butter and cheese. But new research suggests the guidelines introduced in the U.S. and U.K. "should not have been introduced" for lack of solid scientific evidence.

These guidelines were introduced to the United States and United Kingdom in 1977 and 1983 respectively. Other countries quickly followed suit. Experts worried that saturated fats contributed to heart disease and other health conditions. But now, a paper published in the journal Open Heart claims that "Dietary advice not merely needs review; it should not have been introduced," adding that:

It seems incomprehensible that dietary advice was introduced for 220 million Americans and 56 million UK citizens, given the contrary results from a small number of unhealthy men.

The results of the present meta-analysis support the hypothesis that the available (randomised controlled trials) did not support the introduction of dietary fat recommendations in order to reduce (coronary heart disease) risk or related mortality.

To be clear, the study is not critical of current advice on saturated fats, but as noted by Dr. Alison Tedstone in The Guardian, it "suggests that the advice was introduced prematurely in the 1980s, before there was the extensive evidence base that exists today."

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Whether or not saturated fats can be linked to heart disease is an open question. Back in 1991, food experts confirmed that eating too much saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels, which boosts the risk of heart disease. But last year, scientists contradicted this finding by showing that a link could not be established between saturated fat and heart disease.

[ The Guardian ]

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