Government panel rules saturated fat in butter, cheese and meat IS bad for you

A Government committee has ruled the fat found in butter, cheese and meat should be avoided because it's bad for people's hearts.

Saturated fat has been the subject of debate for years because it can contribute to heart disease but is found in foods which also have health benefits.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition today said there should be no change to 25-year-old official advice to try and avoid the fats.

They should make up no more than 10 per cent of someone's daily calorie intake, officials maintained, because of their link to high cholesterol and heart disease.

But critics argue that telling people to avoid saturated fat risks slicing out chunks of a balanced diet and turning them instead to more dangerous trans fats or sugar.

The University of Copenhagen's Dr Arne Astrup told MailOnline the committee's approach was 'outdated' and ignored evidence it'd be better to take a whole food approach to healthy eating.

And NHS consultant Dr Aseem Malhotra accused the panel of 'gross incompetence' and said evidence has suggested some types of fat actually lower heart disease risk.

Saturated fat, of which butter contains a lot, should not be avoided completely because people may end up cutting out foods which have other nutritional benefits, researchers have warned (stock image)

Saturated fat, of which butter contains a lot, should not be avoided completely because people may end up cutting out foods which have other nutritional benefits, researchers have warned (stock image)

'Looking at the evidence, our report confirms that reducing saturated fat lowers total blood cholesterol and cuts the risk of heart disease,' said the committee's Professor Paul Haggarty.

'Our advice remains that saturated fats should be reduced to no more than about 10 per cent of dietary energy.'

This limits the average adult to between 200 and 250 calories from saturated fat each day – equal to about 31g of butter. 

The advisory committee (SACN) said saturated fats should be swapped for unsaturated fats, which are found in fish, nuts, olives, avocados and vegetable oil.

Examples of these switches include using margarine instead of butter, vegetable oil instead of lard, fish instead of red meat and fruit instead of cake.

But Dr Astrup, head of Copenhagen's department of nutrition, exercise and sport, said like-for-like swaps aren't always suitable.

In a recent paper published in the British Medical Journal, he and colleagues argued that fats have different effects in different foods.

Dr Astrup said: 'It does not make sense to work with this limit that does not observe the different food sources.

'The Government report has completely ignored the issues we have raised, and they are still working with the outdated “single nutrient approach”.

Dr Aseem Malhotra, an NHS cardiologist, accused the advisory committee of 'gross incompetence' and said in some circumstances fat actually reduces the risk of heart disease

Dr Aseem Malhotra, an NHS cardiologist, accused the advisory committee of 'gross incompetence' and said in some circumstances fat actually reduces the risk of heart disease

'We provide strong evidence to show that it does not make sense to treat saturated fat as one single group as there are several different saturated fatty acids with very different biological effects.

'And

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV Stressful life events raise the risk of women dying from cervical cancer
NEXT health care Clinicians are using an app to speed up detection of a 'silent killer'