A Half-Century of Misguided Dietary Recommendations

Philip Calder writes in the British Medical Journal about a re-analysis of an old study. Middle-aged men with heart disease were placed either on 1) a diet high in linoleic acid, a predominant omega-6 fatty acid, or 2) their habitual diet.  The men on the high-omega-6 diet had a higher subsequent overall and cardiac death rate.

“These findings argue against the “saturated fat bad, omega 6 PUFA good” dogma and suggest that the American Heart Association advisory that includes the statement “higher [than 10% of energy] intakes [of omega-6 PUFAs] appear to be safe and may be even more beneficial” may be misguided. The more cautious UK dietary recommendations on fat and fatty acids, which include the statement, “There is reason to be cautious about high intakes of omega 6 PUFAs, ”seem fully justified in the light of the current study’s findings.”

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