The Big Fat Surprise, a new book on diet and nutrition, claims saturated fats are not as bad as most people believe.

Nina Teicholz is the author of the book with the surprising conclusion. She was a journalist, who started working as a food critic in 2000. The job did not pay much money, but provided her with free meals. Many of these foods were rich, containing large amounts of fats. Even after being at the position for some time, Teicholz not only did not gain any weight, but she lost 10 pounds. Her cholesterol levels were also at healthy concentrations, and remained there despite a diet filled with rich meats, soups and sauces.

Being a journalist, she decided to investigate how a diet that seemed to break all current teachings could actually make her healthier.

"For decades, we have been told that the best possible diet involves cutting back on fat, especially saturated fat... But what if the low-fat diet is itself the problem? What if the very foods we've been denying ourselves - the creamy cheeses, the sizzling steaks - are themselves the key to reversing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease?" the book description reads.

A meta-analysis released in March supported the same idea. The researchers showed there was no link between a diet high in saturated fats and a greater incidence of heart disease. Similarly, the study found no link at all between such diseases and the use of saturated versus unsaturated oils for cooking. That analysis, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, was conducted by a team of international scientists.

Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist, wrote in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) that diets low in saturated fats can actually increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

"[S]aturated fat is believed to raise levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (so-called "bad" cholesterol), which in turn raises cardiovascular risk. Yet only one type of LDL cholesterol seems to be associated with saturated fat intake... large buoyant (type A) LDL particles... the small, dense (type B) particles associated with carbohydrate intake - [are the type] linked to cardiovascular disease," The National Institutes for Health wrote on their website.

Teicholz believes the reason people in the United States are more obese than those in most other nations is due to the carbohydrates and sugars in the diets of many Americans.

"People do not need to feel guilty about or restrict themselves when it comes to eating cheese, whole fat dairy and red meat. The science supports a higher-fat diet," Teicholz told reporters.

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