Doubling saturated fat in the diet does not drive up levels of saturated fat in the blood, according to a study in America.
Researchers from Ohio State University controlled the diets of 16 adults with metabolic syndrome, a term used to describe a combination of cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and blood sugar, and excess weight around your middle.
They were fed six different three-week diets that progressively increased in carbohydrate content while reducing total fat and saturated fat.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, was designed to examine the effect on saturated fats in the blood with different levels of carbohydrates and fats in the diet.
They found that when the diet had higher levels of saturated fat and lower carbohydrates, the total saturated fat in the blood did not increase.
Victoria Taylor, our Senior Dietitian, said: “Only 16 people took part in this short term study which is not enough to be conclusive.
"More research is needed to understand the effects of different amounts of types of carbohydrates on our risk of coronary heart disease.
“In the UK it is recommended that saturated fat is reduced and instead we should be switching to getting fats from unsaturated sources, for example olive, rapeseed or sunflower oils, oily fish and nuts.
"This is because eating too much saturated fat is linked to an increase in LDL cholesterol levels, a known risk factor for coronary heart disease.
“It’s important to eat a healthy balanced diet and not focus on individual nutrients or foods.
"The Mediterranean style diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, pulses, fish, nuts and seeds and has been shown to be beneficial in preventing coronary heart disease.”