For the past 30 years people have been told to reduce their intake of foods such as butter. Guidelines from the 1980s that told people to stop eating fatty foods should never have been introduced, a new study says. The dietary guidelines, aimed at reducing coronary heart disease by limiting fat intake, advised people to cut their overall fat consumption to 30% of total energy intake and lower saturated fat consumption to 10% of total energy intake.
LONDON — Lovers of butter and cheese, rejoice. Guidelines from the 1980s that told people to stop eating fatty foods should never have been introduced, a new study says.
Research published on Tuesday in the British medical journal Open Heart says the recommendations, issued in the UK and U.S. from 1977 onwards, could not be backed up with proper scientific evidence.
“Dietary recommendations were introduced for 220 million U.S. and 56 million UK citizens by 1983, in the absence of supporting evidence from randomised control trials,” the study says.
The study, carried out by scientists from Scotland and the U.S., went back over old research and found there was no difference in outcomes for patients who followed the reduced-fat diet and those who didn’t.
“The outcome is that there is no difference in overall deaths whatsoever. They were identical in the intervention and control groups with 370 deaths a piece and there was no statistical difference in heart deaths,” said Zoë Harcombe, main author of the findings, in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
She said that since people have reduced their consumption of fats, there’s been an increased intake of carbohydrates, the consequences of which are not known. Harcombe pointed to the rising rates of obesity and type-2 diabetes since the guidelines were issued 30 years ago.
“This paper is not critical of current advice on saturated fats but suggests that the advice was introduced prematurely in the 1980s before there was the extensive evidence base that exists today,” Tedstone said.
“The advice issued by Coma (Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy) in 1991 confirmed that eating too much saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease.” Read more…