Dietary Saturated Fat Not Associated with Risk for Heart Disease or Stroke
Researchers from California combined the results from several studies to examine the direct effect of saturated fat intake on heart disease. The study, published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, did not find a significant link between high dietary saturated fat and increased risk of heart disease or stroke.
About the Study
The review also accounted for other factors that can impact the risk of stroke or heart disease, such as age or sex. After accounting for these factors and the quality of the studies, there was still no significant association between high dietary saturated fats and risk of heart disease or stroke.
How does this affect you?
A meta-analysis combines smaller, and sometimes conflicting, studies. The larger pool of participants leads to more reliable outcomes. In this case, the large study appears to contradict popular guidelines that a diet high in saturated fats is directly linked to higher levels of heart disease or stroke. While major guidelines that advise lowering your intake of saturated fats will probably not dissapear due to this study, it may lead to reconsiderations of diets that severely restrict or eliminate fats.
The results of this analysis do not mean it is time to stock up on donuts or eat all the saturated fat you want. As with any nutritional element, moderation is important. A well-balanced diet needs a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, with healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables. Lowering your risk of heart disease also includes staying physically active, reducing stress, and monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
American Dietetic Association
United States Department of Agriculture
Food and Nutrition
Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46.
Last reviewed 4/28/2010 by
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