Saturated fat, of which butter contains a lot, should not be avoided completely because people may end up cutting out foods which have other nutritional benefits, researchers have warned.
People should cut down on butter, cheese and red meats because the saturated fat they contain is bad for the heart, a Government committee has declared.

The fats have been demonised since the 1970s after they were linked to high cholesterol, but some evidence also suggests they can have health benefits.

After the first review of the evidence in 25 years, Government advisers have ruled that eating too much saturated fat does raise the risk of heart disease.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition said advice drawn up in 1994 shouldn't change and that the controversial fats should continue to make up no more than 10 per cent of an adult's daily calorie intake.

Comment: Poor government advisory committee. They're trying so hard to keep everyone locked into the dietary advice from fifty years ago but they're doing such a poor job of it. More and more people are realizing every day that they're completely full of it.

But critics slammed the guidance, saying it was 'outdated' and accusing the panel of 'gross incompetence'.

'Looking at the evidence, our report confirms that reducing saturated fat lowers total blood cholesterol and cuts the risk of heart disease,' said the committee's Professor Paul Haggarty.

'Our advice remains that saturated fats should be reduced to no more than about 10 per cent of dietary energy.'

This limits the average adult to between 200 and 250 calories from saturated fat each day - equal to about 31g of butter.

The SACN said saturated fats should be swapped for unsaturated fats, found in fish, nuts, olives, avocados and vegetable oil.

Examples of these switches include using margarine instead of butter, vegetable oil instead of lard, fish instead of red meat and fruit instead of cake.

Comment: They're still recommending margarine! What is this, 1985? Is there anyone on the planet who still thinks that stuff is healthy? See: Do you really know how margarine is made?

But Dr Astrup, head of Copenhagen's department of nutrition, exercise and sport, said like-for-like swaps aren't always suitable.

In a recent paper published in the British Medical Journal, he and colleagues argued that fats have different effects in different foods.

Dr Astrup said: 'It does not make sense to work with this limit that does not observe the different food sources.

'The Government report has completely ignored the issues we have raised, and they are still working with the outdated "single nutrient approach".

'We provide strong evidence to show that it does not make sense to treat saturated fat as one single group as there are several different saturated fatty acids with very different biological effects.

'And even more important: the effect is dependent of the food source it exists in - the effect of saturated fat is modified by all the other nutrients in the food matrix.

'So we should stop talking about saturated fat to the public and talk about foods.'

The SACN said people in the UK still get around 12 per cent of their daily energy intake from saturated fat, which is 'above recommendations'.

Its recommendations were set in 1994 and suggest a daily limit of 10 per cent - 200 to 250 calories of the average adult's 2,000-2,500kcal intake.

The SACN's new review is the first since that guidance 25 years ago, and considered 47 reviews of other scientific studies published since that time.

Too much saturated fat, experts on the panel fear, will increase the risk of heart problems because it's known to raise cholesterol and potentially build up in the blood vessels.

Comment: These guys are so out of date it's pathetic. They should be advising no one on what constitutes a healthy diet. The 'experts' have no idea what they're talking about. See: Insulin, not cholesterol, is the true culprit in heart disease

Build-up of fat in the veins and arteries can narrow them, increasing blood pressure and forcing the heart to work harder to get the same amount of blood around the body.

About 7.4million people in the UK have heart disease and it kills around 170,000 people annually, with a further 36,000 dying of stroke.

Biscuits, cakes, pastries, cheese, milk and meat are the main sources of saturated fat and should be eaten in smaller amounts, officials said.

Public Health England's Professor Louis Levy said: 'We recommend eating foods high in saturated fat less often and in smaller amounts and swapping to unsaturated fats to help achieve a healthy, balanced diet.

'We all need to take action, but food manufacturers, suppliers and caterers have a particular responsibility in helping people to do this.'

Comment: The food manufacturers have been 'helping', swapping out saturated fats with processed vegetable oils, replacing fat with sugar. That's half the reason manufactured food is completely inedible garbage. See: Can we agree to demonize processed food, not saturated fat?

However, Dr Astrup added that singling out the fats risks people swapping foods which are at least partly healthy in favour of worse ones, just because they don't have saturated fat.

He said: 'The advice may have the adverse effect as people tend to skip nutrient-dense foods (yogurts, eggs and cheese) and replace them with refined carbs, and the result is higher disease risks.'

Dr Malhotra, a cardiologist in the UK, told MailOnline: 'The SACN committee have once again revealed gross incompetence on their advice on consumption of saturated fat being a risk for heart disease.

'Not only does the totality of evidence reveal no adverse effect on cholesterol profile but that certain types of dairy saturated fat are associated with less heart disease.

'They would be doing the public a much greater service by advising on eating whole foods whilst reducing ultra processed foods which now makes up a staggering half of the British diet.'

The British Heart Foundation backed up the SACN's decision and said people would do wisely to cut back how much saturated fat they eat.

Tracy Parker, a senior dietitian, said: 'This report confirms the importance of following existing recommendations that we get no more than 10 per cent of our food energy from saturated fat.

'Swapping foods high in saturated fat - such as butter, cheese and fatty meat - for foods with more unsaturated fat - such as oily fish, nuts and seeds - can help to lower cholesterol levels, a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases.

'Research has shown that it's important to look at your diet as a whole, rather than eating specific foods or nutrients.

'The Mediterranean-style diet can help keep your heart healthy and reduce the risk of you having a heart attack or stroke.'