Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations From the Heart

Saturated fat is not the major issue

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 22 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6340

Re: Saturated fat is not the major issue

One thing which strikes me on reading of these responses is an overwhelming emphasis on the impact of specific components of foods (i.e. individual nutrients) rather than the actual whole foods themselves.

My understanding of traditional human diets is that numerous populations have until recently thrived on a wide range of differing diets (from very high to very low fat) and that the 'diseases of civilisation' only appear when they are introduced to industrially produced refined food products. It would therefore seem that searching for individual nutrients responsible for various conditions is an oversimplification of a complex issue. Michael Pollen summarised the ideas very well in his book 'In Defence of Food' with the advice that in order to maximise our chances of remaining healthy we should eat real food and not 'edible food like substances'

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 December 2013
Andrew J Renfree
Principal Lecturer
University of Worcester
Henwick Grove, Worcester