People are usually appalled when they see my extremely casual use of butter — a food which, until recently, was thought to be a major player in causing coronary heart disease. But new research from the British medical journal Open Heart has found that foods like cheese and butter might not cause heart problems after all. Indeed, it turns out that the original studies published in the '70s that caused the public to get up in arms about these foods may not have been properly vetted in the first place.
The new research done on the topic basically took the old study from 1977 and attempted to re-test it in Scotland and the U.S. The researchers found that there was no difference in heart-related deaths between patients who follow low-fat diets and patients who didn't. In fact, lead author Zoë Harcombe pointed out that with the decreased consumption of fats like cheese and butter, there has been an increased consumption of carbohydrates. This change in our diets may be linked to the rising obesity and type-2 diabetes rates that have emerged since the original study was published 30 years ago.
Though the findings of this study are potentially pretty exciting (because honestly all I ever want to do is toss my pasta with as much cheese and butter as I can), a British nutritionist reminds us that the new research is mostly aimed at criticizing the old study's unverified information. It isn't necessarily telling us that saturated facts are OK; there have certainly been studies that verified linkages between heart issues and saturated fats, so it's probably best to take this new information with a proverbial grain of salt. But hey, until better, more concrete research is presented to me about what I can and can't eat, I'm sticking with my "a lot of butter and cheese" diet.