A recent in-depth study led by the University of Cambridge has raised questions about the current guidelines restricting the consumption of saturated fats in the diet.
This research has sparked controversy – media headlines stating, ‘No link found between saturated fat and heart disease’, seem to be encouraging people to go out and buy more bacon, whereas guidelines from the British Heart Foundation and the American Heart Association are to stick with the current recommendations.
Fat has always been known to play an important role in the body. It is involved in the production of cell membranes, hormones, the nerve sheathes, and the oils that keep our skin healthy. The question is how much and what types of fat should we consume?
Each person is an individual with unique nutritional needs. Some will benefit from additional fats in the diet whereas others, particularly those with a slower metabolism or a tendency to inflammatory conditions, should eat them in moderation. It is for this reason that in The Herbal Clinic each patient is given a personalised health program to follow.
As for the type of fat, it so often comes back to the simplest answer – nature knows best. From the study it was apparent that the fats which caused the most significant damage to the cardiovascular system were the most processed: trans fats. These artificial fats are formed through the hydrogenation of oils and appear in many processed foods and margarine on supermarket shelves. Saturated fats and cold pressed oils from nuts, seeds and vegetables remain in a form that they appear in nature, and can therefore be recognised and dealt with by the body safely.
Further research, highlighted in the report, has convincingly shown that excess consumption of red meat is linked to heart disease risk. Bacon, sausages and other processed meats contain a host of unnatural additives such as sodium nitrite, phosphates and salt which have other negative health effects, so perhaps it would be wise to refrain from a diet of fried breakfasts after all.
Sent to: South Wales Evening Post, Western Mail, Brecon-Radnor Express, Guardian and The Telegraph.
The Herbal Clinic in Swansea provides natural healthcare with the use of organic herbs, acupuncture and iridology.