Researchers of a new study have claimed that dietary guidelines issued three decades ago warning of the risks of eating butter, cheese and full-fat milk is wrong.
In the 1980's guidelines issued in the United States and UK cautioned about saturated fats because they could lead to coronary heart diseases and death but researchers of a new study, which was published in the British Medical Journal's Open Heart on Feb. 9, said that there was no scientific evidence to back up this claim and thus the guidelines should not have been introduced.
The recommendations, which were first introduced in the U.S in 1977 and which were adopted by the U.K six years later, advise of reducing the overall dietary fat consumption from the likes of butter, red meat and cakes to 30 percent of total energy intake and saturated fat to 10 percent.
The researchers said that because of the saturated fat's reputation as being the main dietary villain, other dietary risks have not been sufficiently looked at. Carbohydrates, for instance, is believed to have helped fuel the current obesity epidemic.
For their study, Zoe Harcombe, from the Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science at the University of the West of Scotland in the U.K, and colleagues reviewed the trials the recommendations of fat consumption were based on.
They looked at the data of six trials published before 1983, which involved 2,647 men and looked at the associations between serum cholesterol, dietary fat and the development of heart disease.
"There were no differences in all-cause mortality and non-significant differences in coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality, resulting from the dietary interventions. The reductions in mean serum cholesterol levels were significantly higher in the intervention groups; this did not result in significant differences in CHD or all-cause mortality," the researchers reported.
Harcombe and colleagues have also found several limitations such as the absence of women in the studies. There were also no trials that tested the recommendation and trial that concluded that the dietary guidelines should be made. The researchers pointed out that the recommendations were introduced without these being tested in a trial.
"It seems incomprehensible that dietary advice was introduced for 220 million Americans and 56 million UK citizens, given the contrary results from a small number of unhealthy men," the researchers said. "Dietary advice not merely needs review; it should not have been introduced."