They said scare stories that diary products like butter and full-fat milk pose health risks were misleading as was an obsession with counting cholesterol.
Instead, the best way to protect against stress and stave off killer coronary heart disease was simply to eat "real food" and take a brisk daily walk.
Respected cardiologists Dr Aseem Malhotra, Professor Rita Redberg, of UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco and Pascal Meier of University Hospital Geneva and University College, London, said evidence suggests no association between saturated fat and heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or death.
They also claimed clinical trials showed inserting a stent to widen narrowed arteries had failed to reduce the risk of heart attack or death.
Their controversial views have sparked a huge row and put them on a collision course with the British Heart Foundation.
In an editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine they claimed: "Decades of emphasis on the primacy of lowering cholesterol, as if this was an end in itself and driving a market of 'proven to lower cholesterol' and 'low fat' foods and medications, has been misguided."
They argued a high total cholesterol to high density lipoprotein (HDL or so-called 'good' cholesterol) ratio was the best predictor of cardiovascular disease risk, rather than low density lipoprotein (LDL or so-called 'bad' cholesterol).
It is time to shift the public health message
Their view is further vindication of the cure-all Mediterranean diet, which has long been considered a simple and easy way to slash the risk of fatal heart disease.
They said the ratio could be rapidly reduced with easy dietary changes, like replacing refined carbohydrates (white rice, bread and pasta) with healthy high-fat foods like nuts and olive oil. But the easiest way to beat coronary heart disease, which kills one in four people in the UK, is to take around 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, three or more times a week.
Dr Malhotra, consultant cardiologist at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, and advisor to the National Obesity Forum, said: "All in all, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction will not only boost quality of life but will curb the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and all causes.
"It is time to shift the public health message in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease away from measuring serum lipids and reducing dietary saturated fat.
"Coronary artery disease is a chronic inflammatory disease and it can be reduced effectively by walking 22 minutes a day and eating real food."
Scores of studies have shown eating like the Greeks with lashings of olive oil, nuts, fresh fish, fruit, greens and nuts, but little dairy or red meat, can slow mental decline.
Their claims further debunk the myth that low-fat food and fad diets are the best way of preserving a healthy heart but it has caused a seismic rift in the medical community.
Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "The Mediterranean diet and daily exercise can help reduce heart disease risk, but I'm afraid the claims about saturated fat made in this opinion piece are unhelpful and misleading.
"Decades of research have proved a diet rich in saturated fat increases 'bad' cholesterol in your blood, which puts you at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
"When it comes to reducing your risk of heart disease the lower your cholesterol is the better. This can be achieved through a healthy, balanced diet or medication for some.
"A coronary artery blocked with fatty plaque causes heart muscle to die as it becomes starved of oxygen. A stent keeps the artery open so blood can flow through unimpeded. This practice is used by leading cardiologists around the world and has helped save countless lives and improve quality of life."
Dr Amitava Banerjee, Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at University College, London, added: "Health professionals, patients and the public all need to focus more on the importance of diet and exercise when it comes to preventing heart attacks.
"However, an individual's risk of coronary heart disease is based on the interplay of many factors, including diet, physical activity and clinical factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
"Therefore physical activity and dietary change alone are necessary but not sufficient to prevent coronary disease."
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