High or low fat?

The results of a large scale, 25 year study of the Swedish population has revealed some interesting facts. The study began in 1986 and in the first seven years the fat intake and cholesterol levels of the participants slightly decreased in line with the dietary recommendations for reduced fat intake. However, from 2004 on, the scientists observed a significant change – the intake of fat, especially animal fat, increased, and so did the cholesterol levels. This change was linked to the rise in popularity of the high-fat, low carbohydrate diets which were, and still are, promoted for quick weight-loss. The popularity of this dietary trend reached such high levels that there was even a butter shortage during the last years of the study. Nevertheless, the weight of participants steadily increased. The scientists concluded that the notable rise in cholesterol levels was clearly linked to diet and warned that, although for some people weight-loss was achieved in the short-term, it was not sustained and the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet clearly increased the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Johansson, I et al., 2012. Associations among 25-year trends in diet, cholesterol and BMI from 140,000 observations in men and women in Northern Sweden. Nutrition Journal. 11: 40.