Today’s Solutions: January 21, 2022

Saturated, unsaturated, trans, omega-6, omega-3… Like the Eskimo languages famed for having dozens of words for ‘snow’, the modern Western vocabulary is rich in ways to describe fat—as well as advice on which ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats to seek out or avoid for a healthy diet. But according to an exhaustive new meta-analysis, decades of clinical trials have shown no link between heart disease and saturated fat. In other words, the “bad” saturated fats found in meat and dairy carry no greater risk of heart disease than the “good” unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. The only truly “bad” fats are the trans fats added to processed foods.

This comprehensive review, which was conducted by an international team of American, British and Dutch researchers and published in this week’s Annals of Internal Medicine, critically assessed the combined findings of all published clinical studies on different types of fatty acids in heart disease (over 70 studies involving more than 600,000 people). The only type of fat with a consistent link to heart disease was the trans fats. Saturated fats, which have been targeted as unhealthy by many public health recommendations, were not linked to an extra risk of heart disease. Furthermore, even within the same broad categories of fats, results were mixed, with some specific fats associated with small increases in risk while similar fats were associated with small decreases in risk. Overall, the results suggest that a balanced diet is what really matters to heart health, not the details of which fat we eat.

(Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2014; 160 (6): 398-406.)


Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

This solar panel covered building reflects Taiwan’s green energy transition

Most projects designed by the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV tend to leave a lasting impression on whoever lays their eyes on them. The company's upcoming project, Sun Rock, is no exception. Designed for Taiwan’s government-owned ... Read More

Why you shouldn’t peel all your vegetables

In her book, Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson reveals that she doesn’t own a vegetable peeler. As a result, “food prep is much faster, my compost output (peelings) is considerably reduced, and we benefit from ... Read More

This online sex shop serves people living with and beyond cancer

Being diagnosed with, receiving treatment for, and surviving cancer are all incredibly impactful experiences that affect all areas of a person’s life—including sex. Many people aren’t comfortable bringing up these two sensitive subjects in casual ... Read More

Zebrafish brains reveal new information about our memories

It seems like we're writing about fish a whole lot lately! Last week, we featured an article about goldfish learning to drive. This week, zebrafish, a species studied for their relatively long lifespans, are helping ... Read More

These sustainably powered homes can raise families out of poverty

Finding and sharing positive ways to tackle the world’s challenges is our favorite activity at The Optimist Daily, so it’s no surprise that we are especially excited about BillionBricks and Architecture Brio’s PowerHyde solar homes, ... Read More

5 reasons that secrets sour relationships & how to break the secret-keep...

According to a 2018 study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people on average keep around 13 secrets at a time, five of which have never been revealed to anyone. It’s worth mentioning ... Read More