A study published by the Harvard School of Public Health has determined that the risk of coronary heart disease, (CHD), is lowered if saturated fats are replaced with polyunsaturated fats.
The research consisted of a systematic review and analysis of available studies to summarize the evidence regarding the link between dietary linoleic acid intake and CHD risk in generally healthy people. Thirteen published and unpublished cohort studies were identified with a total of 310,602 individuals and 12,479 total CHD events including 5,882 CHD deaths.
The analysis revealed that dietary linoleic acid intake is inversely associated with CHD risk in a dose-response manner — meaning, higher intake of linoleic acid resulted in a lower risk of CHD. Comparing the highest to the lowest level of consumption, dietary linoleic acid was associated with a 15% lower risk of CHD events and a 21% lower risk of CHD deaths. These results were independent of common coronary heart disease risk factors such as smoking and other dietary factors such as fiber consumption.
“There has been much confusion and sensational headlines about the role of different types of fat in CHD,” said Frank Hu, senior author and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. “Randomized clinical trials have shown that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat reduces total and LDL cholesterol. And our comprehensive meta-analysis provides clear evidence to support the benefits of consuming polyunsaturated fat as a replacement for saturated fat.”
Polyunsaturated fat sources include:
High oleic safflower oil
Safflower oil Soybean oil
Trout, herring, and salmon
M. S. Farvid, M. Ding, A. Pan, Q. Sun, S. E. Chiuve, L. M. Steffen, W. C. Willett, F. B. Hu. Dietary Linoleic Acid and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Circulation, 2014; 130 (18): 1568 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010236