Beware Trans Fats

iStock_000012783948_MediumButter lovers, rejoice!  A study Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week and as published in the British Medical Journal once again comes to the conclusion that when it comes to cardiovascular risk relative to the development of atherosclerosis, saturated fats are not the culprit, but that human invention, trans fats, are. In point of fact this meta-analysis went further than that, assessing 12 studies with regard to all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, type 2 diabetes and consumption of saturated and trans fats.  Yikes.  That's a lot of data parsing! In short, the study concludes that consumption of saturated fats was not associated with any of the outcomes identified above, but consumption of trans fats were associated with all cause mortality and coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality.

Trans fats, as I suggest in the podcast, were developed for a number of reasons, among them the idea that saturated fats were involved in the deposition of plaques within arteries known as atherosclerosis.  But surprise!  Turns out when we mess with nature and produce chemical bonds in places they don't normally occur, so called 'trans fats', these are actually worse from an atherosclerotic viewpoint.  So leave that margarine alone, I say, and enjoy your butter, chocolate, nuts and other sources of saturated fat, but don't go overboard.  The majority of what you consume should still be vegetables and fruits, in a form as close to nature as possible.  And don't forget the postprandial walk.

Other topics this week include cardiac troponin significance in people with diabetes in NEJM, fresh versus frozen oocytes in JAMA, and testosterone supplements and atherosclerosis in men, in JAMA.  Until next week, y'all live well.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }


Barbara August 16, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Butter is NOT healthy and saturated fat DOES contribute to heart disease. Read the BMJ's actual study, and GRABBING the audience with "butter lovers, rejoice" is both irresponsible and damaging to an already confused culture. JH should review this blogpost.


Elizabeth Tracey August 20, 2015 at 3:02 pm

Hi Barbara. The study does state that saturated fats were not associated with the range of cardiovascular outcomes mentioned, but trans fats were. Not sure where you are making your assertion based on this study.


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