For years saturated fat, eggs, and red meat have gotten a bad rap

by Carolyn Matthews

For years saturated fat, eggs, and red meat have gotten a bad rap from both the government and from the medical community. My great uncle Boze had a heart attack in the 1990’s and was placed on an incredibly strict diet that allowed for no eggs and no red meat, though he could have margarine, which we now know is a huge mistake.

In 2016, researchers from the NIH and other major institutions published an interesting study in the British Medical Journal. They reviewed previously unpublished data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment which was  a study that took place in one nursing home and six state mental hospitals in Minnesota during 1968 to 1973. One group was fed a diet high in saturated fats; the intervention group received a diet that replaced the saturated fat with corn oil and corn oil margarine.

The interventional group that received the corn oil and corn oil margarine had a statistically significant reduction in their serum cholesterol levels as compared to the saturated fat control diet. However, there was a 22% higher risk of death for each 30 mg/dL reduction in serum cholesterol. There was no evidence of reduction in coronary atherosclerosis or reduced myocardial infarction by dropping the saturated fats.

Why then are we still seeing margarine on hospital trays?

Carolyn

Ramsden, Christopher E. et al. Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-1973). BMJ. 2016; 353:i1246