AHA Offers Guidance on Replacing Saturated with Unsaturated Fats — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 16, 2017

AHA Offers Guidance on Replacing Saturated with Unsaturated Fats

By Kelly Young

Edited by William E. Chavey, MD, MS

The American Heart Association has reaffirmed its recommendation that people replace dietary saturated fats with unsaturated fats.

After reviewing recent studies, the group concluded the following:

  • Decreasing total fat intake is not recommended — low-fat diets don't prevent coronary heart disease.

  • Reducing saturated fat intake while increasing polyunsaturated fat intake is associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease (CVD) events similar to what is achieved by statins.

  • Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats lowers LDL and triglyceride levels.

  • Polyunsaturated fats (e.g., corn oil) appear to be more effective than monounsaturated fats (e.g., olive oil) at reducing CVD events.

  • Coconut oil, which is mostly saturated fat, increases LDL like other saturated fats.

  • The switch from saturated to unsaturated fats should occur alongside adherence to a healthy eating pattern like the Mediterranean or DASH diet.

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