For a long time, so-called saturated fatty acids, such as those found in butter, were considered harmful to health. However, current study results contradict this view. So which fats are healthy and which are not?
Animal fats shorten life and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes – this has long been the widespread opinion of experts. So-called saturated fatty acids were considered to be the cause of health problems.
Saturated Fatty Acids: Not Harmful?
In a meta-analysis of 73 studies, Canadian researchers have now cleared up the bad reputation of saturated fatty acids: According to them, they neither increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease nor the likelihood of developing heart disease, stroke, or type 2 developing diabetes.
However, this study shouldn’t be taken as a free pass to consume animal fats to your heart’s content. Because too much of it promotes obesity and the associated secondary diseases. Nutrition experts also point out that when it comes to the question of the effect of fats on the body, the choice of food is also important: cheese, for example, is preferable to sausage. In a study on fat in food, Swedish researchers were able to show that fatty dairy products protect against diabetes.
The real culprits are trans fats
Another group of fats has also made negative headlines in recent decades: the so-called trans fats belong to the unsaturated fats and are produced industrially, mostly from vegetable oils. In chemical processes, liquid oils are converted into solid fats – hence the name “hardened fats”. They are mainly found in processed products such as baked goods, French fries, breakfast cereals, instant soups, and frozen foods. But trans fats are also formed when oil is heated in a pan.
Numerous studies indicate that high consumption of trans fats is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. The Canadian scientists also came to the same conclusion: Their analysis showed that the increased consumption of trans fats increases the risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease such as senile heart disease or a heart attack by 21 percent.
But how many trans fats are too many? Doctors recommend not to exceed a maximum of two to three grams of trans fats per day (children only one and a half grams per day) – this amount is already in a Berliner.