The Benefit of Good Fats

Combining the right diet rich in good fats, such as olive oil, with a healthy lifestyle with exercise and no smoking is more powerful against cardiovascular diseases than the most powerful drug regimen. It can reduce the risk by 80% when the best medicines reduce it by 25% -30%.

Dr. Walter Willet is Professor and Director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University. He is a lover of olive oil, and in his home in Boston he has planted an olive tree. Eats little red meat, only in social events. “I am not missing, because what I learned from the Mediterranean diet is that there are many different types of food and wonderful flavors I have not tasted,” he says in the “K”. Dr. Willet has focused most of his work, for at least 40 years, on developing studies (led by some of the world’s most well-known) on the relationship of fat to disease development. And it has helped to “degrade” the fat-rich diet. As well, he says, a diet rich in good fats (mainly liquid vegetable oils) is not only not harmful but reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and even dementia.

Dr Willet was in Athens last Monday, a guest of the Hellenic Health Foundation, and lectured at the National School of Public Health on “Nutrition Fats and Health: Lessons from Greece”. As mentioned, the beginning of the 1960s with the study of the seven countries. “This showed that the lowest rate of heart disease was in Crete and the highest in Finland. It also appeared that in both Finland and Crete, the diet of the inhabitants was rich in fat. The difference was in the type of fat. Butter and dairy in Finland, olive oil in Crete. Therefore, it is important to have the type of fat and not the quantity, “says Dr Willet. Despite these findings, studies that correlated fat with cancer development led the WHO to recommend low-fat diets.

“This was not in line with the experience from Greece, where residents had low rates of heart disease and cancer and the highest life expectancy at that time,” Dr Willet noted. For the deeper exploration of the role of nutrition, extensive research has been planned and conducted. One of these, the Nurses Health Study, involving more than 120,000 nurses. “What we have seen there really” fits “with the Greek experience that the highest total fat in the diet is not bad, but is associated with low mortality. But again, it has the kind of fat, “says Dr Willet, adding that” unsaturated fats have been associated with lower risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and neurological conditions such as dementia. Detailed research has also been carried out in Greece – such as studies by Professors Antonia and Dimitris Trichopoulos – which showed that those who follow the traditional Mediterranean diet have a lower probability of total death, heart disease and cancer. Thus, in recent years the guidelines in the US have removed the restriction on total fat and have emphasized the type of fat. Sweden and the Netherlands are also moving in this direction. ”

“Now that other countries have taken the lesson of Greece, the country itself seems to be heading in the wrong direction,” says Dr. Willet, adding: “What I told students in Greece is that they have a challenge ahead of them. How will they translate what we have learned over the past 40 years into a workable policy? ” According to him, “you start from the good education of the population for healthy eating and then” build “your intervention with other measures that will be implemented in parallel”, such as the availability of healthy foods and the restriction of unpacking foods, as they said – aimed at children, or even increasing the tax on products with low-fat and soft drinks with a high sugar content. ”

From KATHIMERINI on October 8, 2016

Other highlights from the American Professor’s speech:

  1. Focusing on nutritional programs rather than on individual nutrients. An item does not fit the whole range of a proper and balanced diet.
  2. Remove restrictions to total fat. The kind of fat is a more important element.
  3. Keep 10% as a maximum in saturated fat.
  4. Protect the environment. Reduce the consumption of red meat for better health and protection of the planet.
  5. Put a 10% maximum in calories for added sugars.
  6. Keep 2,300 mg / day for sodium consumption rather than 1,500 mg / day.
  7. Coffee consumption for a healthy life.
  8. Fish farming is as nutritious as in the high seas.
  9. Encourage the culture of health. He must be accessible to everyone, affordable and redeemable.

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