Cutting butter and cream from your diet will improve your health, an official review has concluded. Picture: File

Cutting butter and cream from your diet will improve your health, an official review has concluded.

The fats have been demonised since the 1970s, but some evidence also suggests they have health benefits.

A 443-page report aimed to end the debate once and for all.

It said there was no need to change official advice that saturated fat should make up no more than 10 percent of an adult’s daily intake. The matter is still far from settled, however - as one critic responded by calling the authors "incompetent".

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition advised replacing butter with low-fat spread, full-fat milk with semi-skimmed, and cream with yoghurt. It also warned against the effects of eating too much cheese, fatty meat, cake, biscuits and pastries.

The committee said the findings are pressing because, despite years of warnings about saturated fat, many still consume far more than the recommended maximums.

According to the latest dietary surveys by Public Health England, children and teenagers eat around 30 percent too much saturated fat; adults aged 19 to 64 eat 19 percent too much; those aged 65 to 74 consume 25 percent too much; and over-75s have 43 percent too much.

The report, which assessed the results of 47 large studies published since 1994, is the first official review of the evidence in 25 years.

The committee’s Professor Paul Haggarty said: "Looking at the evidence, our report confirms that reducing saturated fat lowers total blood cholesterol and cuts the risk of heart disease.

"Our advice remains saturated fats should be reduced to no more than about 10 percent of dietary energy."

Professor Louis Levy, head of nutrition science at Public Health England, added: "The review supports and strengthens current advice. We recommend eating foods high in saturated fat less often and in smaller amounts and swapping to unsaturated fats to help achieve a healthy, balanced diet."

Daily Mail