Professor Rod Jackson, epidemiologist at the University of Auckland, gave a public lecture in Dunedin on Thursday 19th March, outlining the data that links lower saturated fat intake with dramatic declines in cardiovascular disease. Professor Jackson has been vocal in the debate about saturated fat, and his presentation addressed key issues with the recently popularised high fat low carbohydrate diets.
Professor Jackson presented data showing that our total intake of fat hasn't changed much since the early 1960's, but that the steady decline in the use of saturated fat sources such as butter (which represents 20-25% of our saturated fat intake in New Zealand) has been followed by a 90% decline in cardiovascular disease events. He went on to describe the evidence that lowering saturated fat intake reduces blood cholesterol, and that this in turn lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
His summary line was that there are good fats and bad fats. Despite the concerning epidemic in obesity and diabetes, eating more saturated fat is not the answer. When you review the totality of evidence over the past 50 years, there is now overwhelming data that decreased saturated ("bad") fat intake has had a huge positive impact on our health. We are currently gaining about 6 hours of life expectancy every day, mostly due to a decrease in cardiovascular disease.
"Saturated fat and heart disease: why butter won't melt in my mouth"
Presented by Professor Rod Jackson
Thursday 19 March, 2015
Castle 1 Lecture Theatre, University of Otago