Tuesday, November 04, 2014
When it comes to dietary fats, there is a lot of confusion regarding what comprises bad fat and how much should be consumed. Now, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have found that simply swapping 5% of calories from saturated fats like red meat and butter with foods containing polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid could lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events by 9% and the risk of CHD-related death by 13%. Similar reductions in CHD risk can also be gained by swapping 5% of calories from carbohydrates with polyunsaturated fat.
The researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies to outline the evidence regarding the link between dietary linoleic acid intake and CHD risk in generally healthy people. The results were published in the journal Circulation.
The researchers identified 13 published and unpublished cohort studies with a total of 310,602 individuals and 12,479 total CHD events including 5,882 CHD deaths. They found that dietary linoleic acid intake is inversely associated with CHD risk in a dose-response manner. The highest dietary consumption of linoleic acid was associated with a 15% lower risk of CHD events and a 21% lower risk of CHD deaths as compared to the lowest intake. These results were independent of other risk factors like smoking and other dietary factors such as fiber consumption.
Commenting about the study, the researchers said, “Randomized clinical trials have shown that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat reduces total and LDL cholesterol. And our comprehensive meta-analysis provides clear evidence to support the benefits of consuming polyunsaturated fat as a replacement for saturated fat."
It is common knowledge that saturated fats are contraindicated in heart disease, but a marginal replacement of these fats with liquid plant oils can bring about a major reduction in the risk of adverse cardiac events and CHD-related death. Thus, even small dietary modifications can yield substantial results and pave the way for a healthy heart.
The study link -