• Rebecca Luong

Confused about which types of dietary fats to have to reduce heart disease risks?

With the clever marketing of unhealthy products, poorly designed studies with confounding factors (did not control for other factors that could impact on heart disease risk) and misinterpretation of studies' findings, it is no wonder the public and even some health professionals are confused about which dietary fats to have and which to avoid.

The American Heart Association (AHA) have recommended the reduction of saturated fat to reduce heart disease risk since 1961. Their recent 2017 review, the Presidential Advisory from the AHA, states "we conclude strongly that lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of CVD" (cardiovascular disease i.e. heart disease). In particular what they found was:

  • Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat reduced cardiovascular disease by 30% which is similar to a reduction with statin (cholesterol-lowering medication) treatment

  • Lower saturated fat intake with higher polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats intake was associated with lower rates of CVD and all-cause mortality

  • Replacing saturated fat with mostly refined carbohydrates and sugar did not reduce CVD risk

  • Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol which causes atherosclerosis, the process where plaque is formed in blood vessels) and also reduced triglycerides (fat in your blood)

Saturated fat sources:

dairy fat (butter), lard (pork), beef tallow, palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, processed meats, cakes, biscuits, pastries, chocolate

Monounsaturated fat sources:

olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, avocados, tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamias, peanuts, brazil nuts), high-oleic safflower oil, high-oleic sunflower oil, margarines using monounsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fat sources:

corn oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, linseed oil, linseed, chia seeds, fish, pine nuts, walnuts, soybeans, high-linoleic safflower oil, high-linoleic sunflower oil, margarines using polyunsaturated fats

Thus, start replacing your dietary saturated fat with unsaturated fat (especially polyunsaturated fat sources) to reduce your heart disease risks today! Happy Heart Healthy Eating :)





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