Although dietary fat has been pegged as the bad guy for years, the truth is that your body needs it just like it needs protein and non-refined carbohydrates not just to survive but to thrive.
This is no less true for the health of your teeth and gums. For instance, fat helps you absorb the calcium you need to remineralize teeth and bone. It’s also needed to help you make use of the vitamin A, D, E, and K2 you eat. (A and E are important for periodontal health, while D and K2 play important roles in remineralization.) Those nutrients can only be absorbed when eaten with fats. Skimp on the fat, and you can wind up deficient.
“But fat is just terrible for your heart and arteries,” conventional practitioners may say, “especially saturated fat.” Yet as we’ve seen before, key evidence of that has proven to be wanting, while other studies have shown that following the conventional wisdom may actually be detrimental.
Perhaps a new comprehensive review of studies on saturated fat and heart health in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology may finally put the myth to rest?
To find the relevant research, the review’s authors used three major medical search engines and focused on studies published between 2010 and 2021. To be included, a study had to explore the association between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease, including both risk and outcomes.
Those that made the cut included observational studies, randomized controlled trials, prospective epidemiologic cohort studies, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses of past research.
The review authors found that this body of scientific literature simply does not prove that there is any significant link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease, heart attack, or cardiovascular death. They also found little evidence that eating less saturated fat lowers your risk of these health problems.
More, the authors noted that there’s little support for the idea that there’s any benefit from replacing saturated fats with unsaturated ones.
Findings from the studies reviewed in this paper indicate that the consumption of SFA [saturated fatty acids] is not significantly associated with CVD [cardiovascular disease] risk, events or mortality. Based on the scientific evidence, there is no scientific ground to demonize SFA as a cause of CVD. SFA naturally occurring in nutrient-dense foods can be safely included in the diet.
Indeed, they can be. And they should be.
Here’s a bit more about saturated fat and its role in everyday health: