ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – A new study has found that saturated fats may not be so bad for the heart after all.

According to CBS News, researchers found little evidence to support medical guidelines that recommend people limit their consumption of saturated fats after reviewing 72 different studies on more than 600,000 people worldwide.

“These are interesting results that potentially stimulate new lines of scientific inquiry and encourage careful reappraisal of our current nutritional guidelines,” study author Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, a public health researcher at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., said in a statement. “With so many affected by this illness, it is critical to have appropriate prevention guidelines which are informed by the best available scientific evidence.”

Researchers found that saturated dairy fats like margaric acid, reduced the risk of heart disease significantly.

The risk for heart disease and stroke are raised by consuming foods that are high in saturated fats, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).  Meat, dairy products, baked goods and fried foods are typically where saturated fats are found.

For a person eating the standard 2,000 calories per day, the AHA recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats in a diet to no more than 16 grams per day.  The AHA has suggested using monounsaturated (found in vegetable oils) or polyunsaturated fats, which can reduce cholesterol levels in blood and lower heart disease risk.

However, researchers found insufficient evidence that those “better” fats reduced heart disease risk.

The AHA wrote in a blog post on its website that it has concerns “that the study’s conclusion could be deceptive for some people as they decide what to put on their plates.”

“The study published Monday doesn’t change the American Heart Association recommendation of a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish and unsaturated fats,” the AHA stated.

The study was published March 18 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


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