A new report from the British Medical Journal suggests that saturated fat is not the major issue for heart disease, but that empty carbohydrates and sugars are what we should be paying more attention to.

In his report, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, interventional cardiology specialist registrar, Croydon University Hospital in London, points at evidence showing that saturated fat has been found to be protective, but still warns that the source of the fat may be important.

WTOP Radio (103.5 FM) spoke with Dr. Michael Chen (interview), interventional cardiologist at Washington Adventist and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Centers, about this study.

Q: Is it time to end the war on saturated fat?

A: I would disagree with the study. Saturated fat is still a problem. It does cause heart disease. I would still recommend to my patients to avoid saturated fat.

Q: Is it true we focus too much on saturated fat and not enough on the bad carbs to control cholesterol?

A: We see patients with high triglycerides and that can be related to a high carbohydrate diet. I always tell my patients the best thing to eat are vegetables. Carbs, if eaten too much, can be bad for you.”

Q: What is the danger of carbs?

A: Carbs, especially refined carbs such as baked goods and sugars, can make your bad cholesterol go up. They are also a source of empty calories. Obesity is a major issue in the U.S. and a lot of that may be from too many calories from the carbs found in sugars.

Q: Is it true that statins are not doing a lot to reduce cholesterol and heart disease?

A: There are many trials that show statins can reduce heart disease and mortality and stroke in populations of patients. For the majority of heart patients, the benefits of statins outweigh the risk.

Q: Some fats are good in diets. What are those?

A: Unsaturated fats such as salmon, nuts and olive oil are good for you.Major sources of saturated fats include pizza, bacon and burgers. As a cardiologist, I cannot in good conscience tell my patients to eat those foods in no abandon.

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