Dietary Fat (Unsaturated & Saturated) and Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Title: Dietary fat intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in a population at high risk of cardiovascular disease
Author: Guasch-Ferre et al
Journal: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2015; 102: 1563-73)
Objective: The aim was to evaluate the association between total fat intake and fat subtypes with the risk of CVD (myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes) and cardiovascular and all-cause death. They also examined the hypothetical effect of the isocaloric substitution of one macronutrient for another.
Dietary fatty acids continue to be an area of contention and interest among researchers. Although the benefits of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids is well established; the influence of total dietary fat and saturated fatty acid remain controversial.
Previously, I have reported on some of the benefits of unsaturated fatty acids and I would encourage you to check that out. The summary is that:
- Lower LDL, triglycerides, raise HDL
- Reduction in risk of heart disease, stroke
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- High in vitamin E
- Reduced risk of alzheimer’s disease
I’ve also made a video on saturated fat, which you should check out. Saturated fat is more controversial. Historically, saturated fat was considered one of the bad guys. More recent evidence suggests that may not be true.
Prospective study of 7038 participants at high cardiovascular disease risk from the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea (PREDIMED) study.
The trial was conducted from 2003 to 2010, but the present analysis was based on an expanded follow-up until 2012.
At baseline and yearly thereafter, total and specific fat subtypes were repeatedly measured by using validated food-frequency questionnaires.
Time-dependent Cox proportional hazards models were used.
After 6 y of follow-up, there were 336 CVD cases and 414 total deaths.
They assessed cardiovascular disease risk (HR) by comparing the highest quintile with the lowest quintile of different types of fat intake. They found that
- Total fat: 42% risk reduction [HR: 0.58; 95% CI: 0.39, 0.86]
- Monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA): 50% risk reduction [HR: 0.50; 95% CI: 0.31, 0.81]
- Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA): 32% risk reduction [HR: 0.68; 95% CI: 0.48, 0.96]
They also compared the highest and lowest quintiles for saturated fatty acid and trans-fat intake to assess cardiovascular disease risk and found
- Saturated fatty acid (SFA): 81% increased risk [HR: 1.81; 95% CI: 1.05, 3.13]
- Trans-fat intakes: 67% increased risk [HR: 1.67; 95% CI: 1.09, 2.57]
They found that replacing caloric intake from saturated fatty acids with Monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Saturated fatty acids from pastries and processed foods were associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids have a clear benefit in reducing the risk of both cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality.
Comparatively, trans and saturated fatty acids actually increased that risk.
Total dietary fat intake was also associated with a reduced risk, but you have to consider all the various fat types and not total fat intake.
Substituting Mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids for saturated fats in your diet will also decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Guasch-Ferre, M., Babio, N., & Martinez-Gonzalez, M. A. (2015). Dietary fat intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in a population at high risk of cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(6), 1563-1573. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.116046