A leading scientist has claimed that sugar and carbohydrates are the culprits for heart disease, not saturated fat.
Dr James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist in New York, says that current advice over the dangers of saturated fat has no basis in fact.
Writing in the journal Open Heart, he said: “There is no conclusive proof that a low-fat diet has any positive effects on health. Indeed, the literature indicates a general lack of any effect (good or bad) from a reduction in fat intake.
“The public fear that saturated fat raises cholesterol is completely unfounded.”
Current dietary advice is based on flawed evidence from the 1950s that has blamed saturated fat for heart disease and this has put public health at risk, he said.
“We need a public health campaign as strong as the one we had in the 70s and 80s demonising saturated fats, to say that we got it wrong.”
Dr DiNicolantonio says that cutting fat from the diet does not lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease or help people live longer. He claims that sugar and carbohydrates are the real culprits in increasing cholesterol and driving the obesity epidemic.
He called for dietary health guidelines to be changed urgently. A diet low in refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods is the best one to boost and maintain heart health, he said.
Dr DiNicolantonio said: ‘From these data, it is easy to comprehend that the global epidemic of atherosclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and the metabolic syndrome is being driven by a diet high in carbohydrate/sugar as opposed to fat, a revelation that we are just starting to accept.’