and fats, including saturated fats, are good!

The PURE study, the largest 14-year global ecological study on 150,000 people from 17 countries , looking at environmental, societal and biological influences on obesity and chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Read a summary of the results here and watch the video!

I am not one to recreate the wheel, so credit for the summary of the information in the PURE study goes to Dietitian Caryn Zinn.

Caryn's summary of the first part here in 5 succinct points:

1. Effect of fats on Cardiovascular Disease

- Saturated fats: not harmful, may be protective

- Monounsaturated Fats: clearly protective

- Polyunsaturated fatty acids: neutral (Caryn's comment: we so need to tease out separate effects of Omega 6 and Omega 3 in future trials – those Omega 6 vegetable oils are ruining everything – they need to be exposed for their harm and Omega 3 needs to be exposed for their independent benefit)

2. Effect of total carbohydrate on Cardiovascular Disease

- Clearly harmful

- A carbohydrate intake past 55% shows a steep increase in CVD.

3. Effect of different foods on Cardiovascular Disease

- Evidence for high fat dairy being harmful: In the words of Dr Salim Yusuf… “A big, big zero”, on the contrary, it is protective.

- Evidence for red meat: neutral (Caryn's comment: not sure if processed meat was included, but it may be, hence the neutrality.)

- Evidence for white meat (i.e. chicken): beneficial

4. So what’s the problem with existing / past studies?

Surrogate end-points i.e. that pesky LDL cholesterol without the detail of particle information. Dr Yusuf’s group used the most sensitive marker for risk prediction, the Apo B / apo A ratio.

[Apo B / Apo A are proteins associated with lipids in lipoprotein particles. This ratio is a marker of atherogenic (Apo B) vs anti-atherogenic (Apo A) particles, so the higher the value the more harmful].

5. ApoB / Apo A ratio outcomes:

- steep increase with carbohydrate (i.e. harmful)

- neutral or decrease with total fat (i.e. neutral or beneficial)

- steep decrease with MUFA (i.e. beneficial)

- Neutral with PUFA

What about Salt?

Additionally, I noted, from the PURE study, optimum levels of sodium intake for ALL people was established to be 3-5 g/day. Lower than 3g could be detrimental for health and higher than 5g is only adverse for those with hypertension.

For those who have a spare 20 minutes, this is a MUST-watch clip. The first half of the clip is on carbs and fat; the second half on sodium, fruit, vegetables, and legumes.

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