Heart Foundation 'shocked' by ABC program's findings

29 October, 2013

The National Heart Foundation of Australia has slammed a recent report aired on ABC's Catalyst casting doubt on the link between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease.

There is a clear relationship between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease, despite ABC media reports questioning the vast evidence base, the Heart Foundation have said in a statement.

The Heart Foundation expressed "serious concerns" about the conclusions presented in the program and was "shocked" by the disregard for the extensive evidence upon which the foundation's recommendations are made.

"Australians need to be aware that the information presented by the ABC is not supported by the Heart Foundation and that there is international scientific consensus that replacing saturated fat with 'good' unsaturated fat, in particular polyunsaturated fat, reduces your risk of heart disease," the statement said.

This position is supported by the World Health Organisation, other leading International Heart Associations such as the American Heart Association, CSIRO, Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) and consistent with the Australian government's Australian Dietary Guidelines which reviewed more than 700 studies.

The Heart Foundation said to believe otherwise was "misleading" and potentially putting people's health at risk, and urged those concerned not to change their diet or medication until they speak to their GP.

The statement continued: "While limiting saturated fat is particularly important for those with high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease, it's important to remember cholesterol is just one risk factor for heart disease and all other risks need to be considered to work out a person's overall risk of heart attack."

The Heart Foundation recommended a healthy, balanced diet, including eating a variety of foods including fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, reduced fat dairy and healthier fats, while limiting the bad saturated fats.

Catalyst will air part two of its special on cholesterol this Thursday, focusing on anti-cholesterol drugs known as statins.