This is a document authored by Credit Suisse’s thought leadership series around health and nutrition. The document analyzes fat (both saturated and non-saturated ) intake over the past years, ingests over 400 research papers as well as detailed discussions with top experts around the world.

The most important conclusion ?

The big concern regarding eating cholesterol-rich foods (e.g. eggs) is completely without foundation.There is basically no link between the cholesterol we eat and the level of cholesterol in our blood. This was already known thirty years ago and has been confirmed time and time again. Eating cholesterol rich foods has no negative effect on health in general or on risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), in particular.

Doctors and patients’ focus on “bad” and “good” cholesterol is superficial at best and most likely misleading. The most mentioned factors that doctors use to assess the risk of CVDs—total blood cholesterol (TC) and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)—are poor indicators of CVD risk. In women in particular, TC has zero predictive value if we look at all causes of death. Low blood cholesterol in men could be as bad as very high cholesterol. The best indicators are the size of LDL particles (pattern A or B) and the ratio of TG (triglycerides) to HDL (the “good” cholesterol). A VAP test to check your pattern A/B costs less than $100 in the U.S., yet few know of its existence.

Based on medical and our own research we can conclude that the intake of saturated fat (butter, palm and coconut oil and lard) poses no risk to our health and particularly to the heart. In the words of probably the most important epidemiological study published on the subject by SiriTarino et al: “There is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.” Saturated fat is actually a healthy source of energy and it has a positive effect on the pattern A/B.

The main factor behind a high level of saturated fats in our blood is actually carbohydrates, not the amount of saturated fat we eat.

This is not huge for me, since Fitosaurus has commented on this beforemultiple times. But this should act to further correct the bad dietary advice being doled out by the bagful these days. Especially in India, where an extremely high proportion of our diet consists of carbohydrates, we tend to demonize the wrong thing. We have way too much of low fat idlis and low fat dhoklas and fat free gulab jamuns. It is time to recognize and correct our diets.