Get The Skinny On Saturated Fat

fat

While nutritionists have long praised the good fat in avocados, olive oil, and nuts, they’ve universally recommended avoiding food high in its stepsister, saturated fat. Because saturated fat can raise levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), it’s been thought to increase your risk of heart disease. Yet while some studies supported this association, the findings were far from conclusive—and may not have taken into account other dietary factors (like the potentially negative effect refined carbs can have on the heart) or the fact that saturated fat can actually raise good cholesterol (HDL).

Still, the idea stuck: Sat fat is bad fat. But now emerging research is shedding new light on the debate. A scientific review of studies involving more than 600,000 people, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine earlier this year, found no significant link between dietary saturated fat and heart disease—suggesting that we don’t, in fact, need to shun foods like red meat, butter, and whole milk for our heart’s sake. But before you go hog-wild, here’s what you should know about popular fatty foods.

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