Dietitian's Journal

Entries in Dietary fat guidelines (3)


The deal on saturated fat -- according to Marion Nestle

I need to find a way a saving all of Marion Nestle's wise advice on interpreting complex and contradictory nutrition research, but until then, I will have to use my blog as a repository. (I know some of my readers also read Marion's blog so please excuse the double-posting.)

Today especially I want to make a note of her response to a question that basically is asking "What if saturated fat isn't so bad?"  Here is part of Marion's answer:

(1) All fats–no exceptions–are mixtures of saturated, unsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (2) Saturated fats occur in greater proportions in animal fats–meat and dairy foods, (3) Some epidemiologic evidence–but not all–suggests that people who eat a lot of meat and dairy foods have a higher risk of heart disease than people who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables (this is correlation, not causation), (4) The same clinical studies that show how trans fats do bad things to blood cholesterol levels also show that saturated fat does too, although not as much (But: people take in a lot more saturated fat than trans fat), and (5) Saturated fat is a single nutrient and the studies reviewed and discussed by the journalists take saturated fat out of its dietary context.

Out-of-context studies of single nutrients are exceedingly difficult to interpret. At the moment, today’s dietary (not single nutrient) advice is the same as it has been for the last fifty years. As I put it in What to Eat, “Eat less, move more, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and don’t eat too much junk food.” Michael Pollan gives exactly the same advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Do this, and you really don’t need to give a thought to single nutrients.

 Links: What's the Deal on Saturated Fat?, What to Eat (home page)


Cardiovascular Health & Nutrition Education Resources -- 2008 Update

coloured_vegetables.jpgThis morning, as part of preparing for tomorrow's stroke clinical pathway subcommittee meeting, I updated my inventory of patient/client and family education tools and resources on cardiovascular health. Here is Part 1 (original PEN and PEN-recommended resources) of the inventory. I'm going to continue working on it over the next day-and-a-half.

Image credit: Colored vegetables by christing-O


Dietitians of Canada's PEN resources (subscription required to access resources):

Resources recommended by PEN (external sites; PEN subscription not required):


The evolution of fat guidelines

Since taking DC's evidence-based decision-making course, I have become very selective about my background reading and if I do have some time to scan journals, articles and summaries, I focus on the areas where I practice -- e.g, brain injury, stroke, dysphagia. One newsletter I regularly read is Heart Headlines. (I always mentally insert "& Stroke" after heart because nutrition advice for health of the organ in our chest also applies to the one in our head.)

The Summer 2007 issue, which I received in the mail today but is also available online, features an interesting review article on how and why dietary fat guidelines evolved to the statements in the 2007 Food Guide.