For 50 years we have been told to cut down on lard and butter while eating more sunflower oil and margarine.
The dietitians' rule of thumb has been saturated animal fat = bad, polyunsaturated vegetable fat = good.
But now US scientists are questioning the conventional wisdom, and asking whether margarine might have been more harmful for us all along. Cutting down on saturated animal fat lowers cholesterol and thus reduces the risk of heart attack.
However, the new analysis of a study conducted in the late 1960s and early 1970s, some of the data from which had been missing for decades, has revealed that people who followed the standard advice and substituted margarine in place of butter died sooner than those who made no change to their diet.
The researchers from the National Institutes of Health in the US say in the British Medical Journal that their findings could have "important implications for worldwide dietary recommendations." (© Independent News Service)