Group of Experts Claims Saturated Fat Does Not Cause Heart Disease

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. contradict / ˌkɒn trəˈdɪkt / (v) – to go against something or someone

    The mayor contradicted the people’s plans because he had other objectives.

  2. editorial / ˌɛd ɪˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr- / (n) – a published article that states an opinion

    She expressed her beliefs about politics in her recent editorial.

  3. unorthodox / ʌnˈɔr θəˌdɒks / (adj) – different from what is usually done or accepted

    The company’s president has an unorthodox way of running his business.

  4. plaque / plæk / (adj) – harmful material that can form in one’s blood vessels

    The doctor told him that eating fatty foods could lead to plaque build-up.

  5. adamant / ˈæd ə mənt, -ˌmænt / (adj) – having a strong belief in one’s own opinion

    She is adamant that politicians cannot be trusted.


Read the text below.

A group of doctors recently wrote an editorial that contradicts traditional beliefs about saturated fat.

Saturated fat, a type of fat commonly found in cheese and butter, is widely perceived to be unhealthy. However, the editorial published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine claims that saturated fat is not directly linked with heart disease. Dr. Aseem Malhotra, lead author of the editorial, explained that heart disease cannot be prevented by merely reducing saturated fat. Instead, he recommended walking for 22 minutes a day, minimizing stress, and eating “real food.”

Dr. Malhotra’s unorthodox opinion, however, is not welcomed by many health experts. Both the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Heart Federation (WHF) emphasize that too much saturated fat may cause plaque to block blood vessels and eventually lead to heart disease.

A Harvard study also negates the said editorial. To test the effects of saturated fat intake, Harvard researchers monitored the diet of 126,000 people. Results of the study showed that death rates dropped by as much as 19% after reducing the consumption of food that contained saturated fat.

Most health experts are adamant that the editorial is not based on scientific research. However, Dr. Malhotra emphasizes that even though he is not against saturated fat, he also promotes medically-accepted lifestyle programs. These include the Mediterranean diet that requires consumption of more fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, and grains. On the other hand, AHA recommends reducing saturated fat intake as well. According to them, saturated fat should be limited to 13 grams per day. Among food items that contain saturated fat are beef, lamb, pork, cream, and milk.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Which study about saturated fat do you believe? Why?
• Do you think proper diet is enough to reduce the risk of heart disease?

Discussion B

• What makes a medical study credible?
• Do you know other medical studies or findings that contradict some traditional beliefs?