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Deep Dive: Does trimming the saturated fat from your diet actually lower heart disease risk?

According to the latest Cochrane review exploring the matter: yes, especially when they're replaced with PUFAs.

Study under review: Reduction in Saturated Fat Intake for Cardiovascular Disease

Introduction

There has been substantial debate about whether or not saturated fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and, to date, there have been conflicting results from studies investigating this topic. For example, a 2010 meta-analysis[1] of observational studies found that there was no association between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease. However, other observational studies[2] have reported that there is an association. There has been some argument[1] that even if there does not appear to be a clear association between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease, replacing saturated fat in the diet with risk-reducing nutrients may still reduce the overall risk for cardiovascular disease.

The present study was designed to systematically examine the impact of replacing saturated fat on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cardiovascular events in randomized controlled trials. Furthermore, the present study was designed to examine the effect of replacing saturated fat with carbohydrate, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated fat, and/or protein on the same outcomes.

The role of saturated fat in heart disease is still heavily debated in the pertinent literature. The present study was designed to examine data from randomized controlled trials on the effect of replacing saturated fat with carbohydrate, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated fat, and/or protein on mortality and cardiovascular morbidity.

What was studied?

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What were the findings?

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The bigger picture

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Frequently asked questions

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What should I know?

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Other Articles in Issue #70 (August 2020)