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Health News

Ban butter to save lives, says heart surgeon

Butter should be banned in an effort to save thousands of lives, a leading heart surgeon has recommended.

Shyam Kolvekar, who works at the Heart Hospital in central London, which is part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said a move away from eating butter and other foods high in saturated fat, could prevent at least 3,500 deaths a year.

Approximately 90% of children, 88% of men and 83% of women in the UK eat too much saturated fat, consuming on average 20% too much per day, according to the Food Standards Agency, which will today start the second phase of its saturated fat awareness campaign.

The current Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) of saturated fat for a woman is 20g and 30g for a man.

Mr Kolvekar said: "In reality people don't stick to complicated diets. By banning butter and replacing it with a healthy spread the average daily sat fat intake would be reduced by 8g - that's 40% of a women's GDA

"This would save thousands of lives each year and help to protect them from cardiovascular disease - the UK's biggest killer."

He added: "By the time I see people it's usually too late, but the frustrating thing is that often the need for heart surgery could have been prevented by following a healthier, lower sat fat diet. Simple food swaps can make a big difference."

Nutritionist Jacqui Morrell said it was "very easy" for the average person to eat too much saturated fat.

She said: "For example, two slices of buttered toast and a full fat latte contains 16.1g of saturated fat, so that's already 80% of the GDA for a woman at breakfast.

"However, just by swapping butter for a low fat spread and using 1% milk you make a 92% reduction."