News

Saturated fats may not be linked to heart disease

February 12, 2010

Dietary intakes of saturated fats are not linked to cardiovascular disease, suggests a new study.

In the meta-analysis (1), data from almost 350,000 subjects obtained from 21 studies indicated that dietary intakes of saturated fat are not associated with increases in the risk of either coronary heart disease (CHD) or cardiovascular disease (CVD). The results did not change when the researchers focused their analysis to consider age or sex, or the quality of the study.

The researchers said that their meta-analysis shows that there is insufficient evidence from prospective epidemiologic studies to conclude that dietary saturated fat is associated with cardiovascular disease.

However, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) commented that the meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies should be interpreted with caution, as these types of studies are subject to bias and confounding, which may affect the results. Although this meta-analysis reports no association between saturated fat intake and CVD, other recently published combined analyses have found that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat, particularly polyunsaturated fat (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids) reduces the risk of CVD. The FSA will continue to recommend a reduction in saturated fat intake as part of a healthy balanced diet.

References

  1. Siri-Tarino P. W. et al. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. February 2010.