Credit Suisse and The Fat Paradigm

On Thursday, September 17th, The Credit Suisse Research Institute released the results of a one year study of dietary fat.

The report is a wealth of information.  I’d like to highlight three findings which you will hear a lot about in the coming months:

1) There is no link between consumption of saturated fat and obesity. A combination of sugar and solvent-extracted vegetable oils (canola, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, etc.) are the most likely cause of the current obesity epidemic. Over the past 50 years, vegetable oil consumption has increased by 89%.

2) “Doctors and patients’ focus on “bad” and “good” cholesterol is superficial at best and most likely misleading”. Total cholesterol and total LDL cholesterol are poor, if not dangerous measures of risk from cardiovascular disease. LDL particle size (a characterization of the density and size of cholesterol carriers) and a ratio of triglycerides to HDL has been found in clinical practice to be a much better indicator of CVD risk. 

3) The findings of the report are directly opposed to the latest recommendations found in the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC).  The 2015 DGAC Report recommends reducing dietary fat below 10% and replacing saturated fat with Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs), primarily from vegetable oils. The Credit Suisse report finds fat consumption was 26% of total calories in 2011 and “if anything could increase safely well beyond current levels.”.  The DGAC recommendation is based solely on a handful of studies linking increased consumption of vegetable to a lowering of total LDL. There is no dispute that increased consumption of vegetable oil can lower LDL and total cholesterol. However, as stated above, total LDL has been shown to be a poor, if not dangerous indicator to use for assessing CVD risk.  The Credit Suisse report is well researched and based on a much wider and solid foundation.

The Credit Suisse report is outstanding and has significant implications for food manufactures, medical practitioners, health insurers and pharmaceutical companies. While there is still a lot to be learned about dietary fat, most of the confusion regarding nutrition revolves around fat and cholesterol and most of the confusion with fat and cholesterol revolves around an understanding of the effects of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and cholesterol on obesity and heart disease. The Credit Suisse report gets the relevant information out to a wider audience for sorting out. 

A copy of the report can be found here: Fat: The New Health Paradigm