For decades, people with familial hypercholesterolemia have been instructed to reduce their intake of saturated fat to lower cholesterol and reduce their risk of heart disease. But a new study published in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine No evidence has been found to support this claim.
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder that causes people to have cholesterol levels 2-4 times higher than the average person. Organizations including the American Heart Association recommend that they avoid eating foods from animal sources such as meat, eggs and cheese, and avoid coconut oil. An international team of experts in heart disease and diet, including five cardiologists, reviewed dietary guidelines for people with familial hypercholesterolemia. They say they have found no rationale for health experts to recommend a low saturated fat diet.
“For the past 80 years, people with familial hypercholesterolemia have been told to lower their cholesterol with a diet low in saturated fat,” said lead author David Diamond, a University of South Florida professor and heart researcher. “Our research shows that more ‘heart healthy’ diets are lower in sugar, not saturated fat.”
Diamond and his co-authors say that following a low-carb diet is most effective for people at risk for heart disease, such as those who are overweight, have high blood pressure and are diabetic. Their findings are consistent with another recently published paper Journal of the American College of CardiologyWhich provided strong evidence that foods that raise blood sugar, such as bread, potatoes and sweets, should be reduced instead of tropical oils and animal-based foods.