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UK cardiologist: Saturated fats risk is exaggerated

SEATTLE — The health risks regarding the saturated fat in certain foods may be overstated, according to a leading British cardiologist.

cheddar cheeseDr. Assem Malhotra is the interventional cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London. In his report in the British Medical Journal, he said recent studies have not supported significant evidence that consuming saturated fat increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. Malhotra insisted that in fact, saturated fat has been found to be protective.

However, the doctor did point out that it depends on which foods are in question. Dr. Malhotra said dairy products like butter and cheese contain Vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, which are linked to lowering heart disease. He also said that all red meat is not created equal, that unprocessed lamb and beef are different than processed meats like hamburger.

Dr. Malhotra also wrote that many people assume that foods labeled as “low-fat” are better for their health when in fact, many of those foods are loaded with sugar.

But the doctor also stressed that his findings do not mean people should go overboard with foods like cheese. He said that like anything else, moderation is key. He said one way to keep the heart healthy is by following the Mediterranean diet, which is high in nuts, olive oils, fish, fruits and unprocessed foods.

The entire British Medical Journal report by Dr. Malhotra can be found here.

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