Replacing Saturated Fats With Polyunsaturated Fats May Decrease Risk of Heart Disease
Despite its bad reputation, fat is an essential nutrient in our diets. However, all fats are not created equal. Consuming too much of the wrong kinds of fat can be dangerous.
When people make the decision to lower their intake of saturated fats, they generally replace them with other foods to keep their consumption of total calories the same. Researchers from the Institute of Preventative Medicine in Copenhagen, Denmark, wanted to know if it was better to replace saturated fats with PUFAs, MUFAs, or carbohydrates. Their study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that PUFAs are the best choice for replacing calories from saturated fats in the diet.
About the Study
Researchers combined data from 11 American and European
Participants lowered their consumption of saturated fats by 5% and replaced these lost calories with either PUFAs, MUFAs, or carbohydrates. The rates of coronary events and deaths in each group at the end of the follow-up period were:
- PUFAs: 13% decrease in coronary events, 26% decrease in coronary deaths
- MUFAs: no association with coronary heart disease was noted
- Carbohydrates: 7% increased risk in coronary events, no significant change in risk for coronary deaths
How Does This Affect You?
It is essential to include a certain amount of fats in your diet, about 20%-35% of your total calories. The majority of these fats should be PUFAs and MUFAs. This study indicates that replacing saturated fats with PUFAs is more likely to prevent heart disease.
To replace saturated and trans fats with PUFA and MUFA, try substituting meat meals with fish once or twice week, and use
American Dietetic Association
American Heart Association
Jakobsen MU, O’Reilly EJ, Heitmann BL, et al. Major types of dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease: a pooled analysis of 11 cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1425-32. Epub 2009 Feb 11.
Last reviewed May 2009 by
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