Friday 13 February 2015 11:27am
Professor Jim Mann comments on a recent article in the BMJ's Open Heart Journal, which concludes that the dietary fat guidelines, introduced in the 1970s and 1980s, were not based on sufficient evidence. These recommendations have underpinned years of nutritional advice to reduce total fat intake, and in particular to limit saturated fat.
Professor Mann points out several issues with the paper, including that the study had not used all the trial data available in its analysis. In addition, the level of evidence that was required at the time to make dietary recommendations was quite different to what is required today.
Since the establishment of the dietary fat guidelines several decades ago, there has been an overwhelming body of evidence generated that supports the lowering of saturated fat intake. This reduction has been accompanied by a dramatic decrease in cardiovascular disease mortality in most developed countries.
Follow the debate
- See the article in the British Medical Journal Open Heart:
Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines, published online in BMJ Open Heart, February 9, 2015
- Read a good independent summary of the debate on saturated fats:
Saturated fats: ten questions answered, February 16, 2015, Stuff website
- Look at Professor Mann's comments in the ODT:
Butter not better, February 12, 2015, Otago Daily Times
- Hear an interview with Professor Jim Mann on Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme:
Debate over fat consumption claims, February 11, 2015, Radio NZ, (interview is 6min 8sec)