Join tens of thousands of doctors, health professionals and patients who receive our newsletters. A new controlled diet study has found that increasing the levels of saturated fat in the diet does not lead to increased levels of saturated fat in the blood.
Diets full of high carbohydrate foods such as cookies could increase the risk of heart disease, according to research. Levels of palmitoleic acid were reduced with low carbohydrate intake and increased as the participants consumed progressively larger amounts of carbohydrates over the course of the study.
In the study, published in PLOS ONE, the authors state that current dietary guidelines in the US recommend the majority of calories should be acquired from carbohydrates, with only 7-10% of total energy coming from saturated fats.
To achieve this, foods containing saturated fat - beef, eggs, high-fat dairy products - should be limited. The study involved 16 adults being given six 3-week diets - each containing 2,500 calories and around 130 grams of protein - that progressively increased the participants' levels of carbohydrates while reducing their consumption of total fat and saturated fat. Each of the participants had metabolic syndrome - a number of simultaneously occurring conditions that increase the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
The researchers spent 3 weeks to get the participants to a baseline reduced carb diet before beginning the 18-week study. In this final diet, the carb level represented 55% of the participants' daily calories, a figure that is approximately the same as the estimated daily percentage of energy provided by carbohydrates in the American diet.
Increases in palmitoleic acid indicate that more carbs are being converted to fat instead of being burned as fuel, states Prof.
The study authors hoped to discover at which point in the increased intake of carbs that the participants began to store fat in their bodies rather than burning it off. The authors acknowledge that the study is limited by the relatively short timeframe that the diets were followed for. Recently, Medical News Today reported on an analysis of clinical trials for four popular diets, questioning the long-term benefits of the Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers and Zone diets.
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A new study conducted by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University has revealed that young children are seeing more advertisements for fast food that is high in saturated fat and sodium than ever before.Children as young as two years old are now consistently targeted by marketers of foods high in sodium across a variety of different media.


Nutrition labels can help you choose between products and keep a check on the amount of foods you're eating that are high in fat, salt and added sugars. They also include information on fat, saturates (saturated fat), carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt.
Supermarkets and food manufacturers now highlight the energy, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt content on the front of the packaging, alongside the reference intake for each of these. If you're having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.
There are guidelines to tell you if a food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar, or not. For example, if you are trying to cut down on saturated fat, limit your consumption of foods that have more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g. Some nutrition labels on the back or side of packaging also provide information about reference intakes. Most of the big supermarkets and many food manufacturers also display nutritional information on the front of pre-packed food.
These labels provide information on the number of grams of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt, and the amount of energy (in kJ and kcal) in a serving or portion of the food. Nutrition labels can also provide information on how a particular food or drink product fits into your daily diet. Reference intakes are guidelines about the approximate amount of particular nutrients and energy required for a healthy diet. Colour-coded nutritional information, as shown in the image above, tells you at a glance if the food has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt. Amber means neither high nor low, so you can eat foods with all or mostly amber on the label most of the time. But any red on the label means the food is high in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugars, and these are the foods we should cut down on. Most pre-packed food products also have a list of ingredients on the packaging or an attached label. Ingredients are listed in order of weight, so the main ingredients in the packaged food always come first. You're standing in the supermarket aisle looking at two similar products, trying to decide which to choose.
If you're buying ready meals, check to see if there's a nutrition label on the front of the pack, and then see how your choices stack up when it comes to the amount of energy, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt. If the nutrition labels use colour coding, you will often find a mixture of red, amber and green. But remember, even healthier ready meals may be higher in fat and energy than the homemade equivalent. Denmark has introduced what’s believed to be the world’s first fat food tax, applying a surcharge to foods with more than 2.3 percent saturated fats, in an effort to combat obesity and heart disease.


Danes hoarded food before the tax went into effect Saturday, emptying grocery store shelves. Nutritionists often talk about "good fats" such as monounsaturated and polyunsatured, and "bad fats" such as saturated and trans fats. Olive oil is well known for being rich in monounsaturated fats, and, depending on the harvest and extraction process that will be applied, it can also be rich in polyunsaturated fats. However, increasing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet was found to raise the levels of a fatty acid associated with diabetes and heart disease. Typically, a reduction in these foods results in an increased consumption of carbohydrates. People with metabolic syndrome have at least three of the following conditions: abnormal blood cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood triglycerides, hypertension and obesity. The first diet of the study consisted of 47 g of carbohydrates and 84 g of saturated fat daily, with the carb-saturated fat ratio progressively increasing until the final diet, consisting of 346 g of carbs and 32 g of saturated fat daily. Blood glucose, insulin levels and blood pressure also improved and, on average, the participants lost nearly 22 lb by the end of the 18 weeks. In contrast, the acid was found to increase as the levels of carbohydrates progressively rose across the duration of the study. Although palmitoleic acid levels increased in all participants, the moment when fat began to be stored varied widely. However, a small number of the participants were given the diets in reverse order, starting with the highest carb diet, and the same observations regarding palmitoleic acid were made.
These labels include information on energy in kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcal), usually referred to as calories.
Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre. If you buy a food that has all or mostly green on the label, you know straight away that it's a healthier choice. That means that if the first few ingredients are high-fat ingredients, such as cream, butter or oil, then the food in question is a high-fat food. So, when you're choosing between similar products, try to go for more greens and ambers, and fewer reds, if you want to make a healthier choice. In contrast, reducing carbs and increasing dietary fat in a well-controlled way ensures that the body will burn the saturated fat as fuel, rather than storing it in the body.
This finding supports the idea that individual tolerances to carbs can be dramatically different. At least 30 percent of the calories that kids and teens ingest from these high sodium foods came from saturated fat and sugar.The researchers also pointed out that, although many fast food chains offer healthy alternatives to high sodium foods, these options with somewhat higher nutritional value are rarely offered as the default option.



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