I'm intending to start a series of posts reviewing articles that I found interesting from a selection of journals published in the first months of 2010.
Here is the first, from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2010, Vol. 91, No. 3, pp. 533-546. Here's a link to the abstract:
The authors, Siri-Tarino et al., show via meta-analysis that saturated fat intake is not actually positively correlated with heart disease risk.
Rather, the more important issue is the ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fat in the diet. Higher ratios are protective against heart disease.
The authors cite evidence that ingesting the same number of calories as carbohydrate instead of saturated fat actually increases the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack).
With respect to nutritional behaviour for optimal physical and mental health, I return again to the recommendation that there be a balance which includes adequate fat, carbohydrate, and protein as dietary macronutrients. Saturated fat need not be excluded or avoided, but should be balanced by a more abundant intake of non-saturated fats.
In a separate article, the same authors recommend maintaining balanced dietary fat intake, but avoiding refined carbohydrate in the diet:
In my opinion, adequate dietary carbohydrates are very important for brain health, as I believe low-carb ketotic diets are hard on the brain. Complex carbohydrates, with a lower glycemic index, are preferable.