Rajiv Chowdhury

Palm oil: Cambridge study, good alternative to bad fats

ROME – ”Palm oil can be considered as a healthier alternative to trans fats with its perfect balance of saturated and unsaturated fats and while maintaining reasonable shelf-life”, says Rajiv Chowdhury, associate professor in the department Global Cardiovascular Health of the University of Cambridge, who has published a research mentioned in a study just published by the National Obesity Forum, which reviewed the current UK dietary guidelines, acquitting precisely saturated fats.

” Our study, published in 2014, systematically combined results from all previously published observational studies, and found that a high intake of total saturated fat was not significantly associated with heart disease risk ”, says the professor, according to which it is not correct to speak of saturated fats as a whole; this because, coming from a wide range of foods, they vary as to their effects on health.
” For example  – explains the professor – saturated fats, which correlate strongly with foods high in carbohydrates and alcohol consumption, are associated with increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular risk. By contrast, saturated fats, that correlate highly with dairy products, are associated with a reduced risk.”. As for the ideal diet, the watchword for Chowdhury, is balance. Yes and a combination of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy proteins. ”Personally – the professor said – I prefer green, leafy vegetables, and sufficient amount of fruits in various colours;  Choose whole grains like whole-wheat bread and brown rice, avoid refine grains like white bread or white rice”.
As for proteins, those contained in fish, beans and nuts are optimal. Limit red meats and avoid processed meats. For milk and dairy products, one may wish to go for the natural whole-fat options given the recent growing evidence, in place of skimmed or semi skimmed products 1-2 servings/day. Finally, according to Dr Chowdhury, we should avoid trans fats, and limit salt consumption. Avoid having sugary drinks and alcohol. Drink water, tea or coffee, but with little or no sugar, and avoid artificial sweeteners.
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