Stories in the media today (Wednesday 23rd October 2013) have been debating the evidence for the association between intakes of saturated fat in the diet and risk of heart disease.

Diets high in saturated fat are associated with increased levels of ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol in the blood and increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that replacing some saturated fat with unsaturated fat in the diet reduces blood cholesterol. Public health advice for the population is to reduce saturated fat intake. In the UK, saturated fat intake has decreased over recent decades, nevertheless, it is still higher than recommended.

Heart disease and stroke are multifactorial conditions and so saturated fat is not the only lifestyle factor to influence a person’s risk of developing these conditions. Reduction of saturated fat intakes should be part of a healthy lifestyle which means eating a healthy balanced diet, being physical active and maintaining a healthy weight

Note that Public Health England have responded to the BMJ article - this can be viewed here.

Last reviewed 23/10/2013. Next due for review 23/10/2016