Saturated Fat and Heart Disease Risk
Have recent headlines made you believe that you can eat unlimited amounts of saturated fat in red meat and dairy products?
I hope not.
A recent study from Harvard School of Public Health shows that when people replace 5% of calories from saturated fats with the same amount of calories from:
- polyunsaturated fats, they gain a 25% reduction in heart disease,
- monounsaturated fats, they gain a 15% reduction in heart disease, and
- carbohydrates from whole grains, they gain a 9% reduction in heart disease.
However, if they replace the saturated fats in meats and dairy products with refined carbohydrates in white bread, sugar added foods and drinks, they still are at the same high risk for heart attacks!!
These analyses took into account cardiovascular risk factors such as age, body mass index, smoking, and physical activity.
This is the first prospective analysis to directly compare saturated fat with other types of fats and different types of carbohydrates in relation to heart disease risk.
Previous research looked at the association between consumption of saturated fatty acid and the risk of coronary heart disease, but did not specify what replaced saturated fat — such as unsaturated fats or the type of dietary carbohydrate (which unfortunately led to misleading headlines promoting the return of butter).
This is one of the first studies to distinguish between polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, and carbohydrates from whole grains or refined starches and added sugars.