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Higher saturated fat intake is associated with a 17% lower risk of heart disease, 2015 Dutch study
Saturday, July 02, 2016 10:05 am Email this article
Total saturated fat intake was associated with a 17% lower risk of ischemic heart disease (both fatal and nonfatal) for every 5% of calories as saturated fat according to a Dutch study which followed 35,597 Dutch men and women from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Netherlands cohort for 12 years.
The study also found that:
- Substituting 5% of calories from saturated fat with carbohydrates was associated with a 23% higher risk.
- Substituting 5% of calories from saturated fat with monounsaturated fat was associated with a 30% higher risk.
- Substituting 5% of calories from saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat was associated with a 35% higher risk.
- Substituting 5% of calories from saturated fat with animal protein was associated with a 37% higher risk.
- Substituting 5% of calories from saturated fat with vegetable protein was associated with a 19% lower risk, but this was not statistically significant, meaning that this difference could have been due to random chance (a 17% chance that it was due to random chance).
Reduced risk from saturated fat mainly driven by saturated fat from dairy
The inverse association between total saturated fat intake and ischemic heart disease was mainly driven by saturated fats from dairy sources, meaning milk, yogurt, cheese and butter.
Saturated fat intake from meat: No effect
Saturated fat intake from meat had no effect on the risk of ischemic heart disease after adjusting for other factors.
Another study found saturated fat intake from dairy associated with lower risk, but saturated fat from meat associated with higher risk
They note that another study called the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) cohort, found that each 5 gram per day intake of saturated fat from dairy was associated with a 16% lower risk of ischemic heart disease, whereas each 5 gram per day intake of saturated fat from meat was associated with a 29% higher risk of ischemic heart disease.
The MESA cohort found that an even lower risk of ischemic heart disease when 5% of calories were replaced with saturated fat than the current study — a 27% lower risk of ischemic heart disease compared to the 17% lower risk found in the current study.
They also noted that “Three meta-analyses, including the study results of a total of 22 observational cohorts, observed no association between [saturated fat] intake and [ischemic heart disease] incidence.”
They also note that the MESA cohort found that replacing 5% of calories with saturated fat from meat was associated with a 57% greater risk of ischemic heart disease, which was very close to being statistically significant.
So where the saturated fat is coming from seems to be important.
Praagman J, Beulens JW, Alssema M, Zock PL, Wanders AJ, Sluijs I, and van der Schouw YT. The association between dietary saturated fatty acids and ischemic heart disease depends on the type and source of fatty acid in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands cohort. Am J Clin Nutr, 2016 Feb; 103(2): 356-365.
Author’s Contact Info
Yvonne T van der Schouw
Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care
University Medical Center Utrecht
de Oliveira Otto MC, Mozaffarian D, Kromhout D, Bertoni AG, Sibley CT, Jacobs DRJ, and Nettleton JA. Dietary intake of saturated fat by food source and incident cardiovascular disease: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Aug; 96(2): 397-404.
Author’s Contact Info
M. C. Otto
Division of Epidemiology
Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences
The University of Texas School of Public Health
Houston, Texas USA
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