Cutting Saturated Fats Alone Will Not Protect Against Heart Disease

Lowering consumption of saturated fats is supposed to help protect against heart disease. Saturated fats are animal fats, and are found in red meat, bacon, butter, cheese and other foods. If your goal is to lower your risk of heart disease by cutting back on saturated fats, be careful what you replace them with.

If you replace saturated fats in your diet with carbohydrates, you will not significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease. A much better, and healthier, strategy is to make a point of eating more polyunsaturated fats by increasing your intake of fish, vegetable oils and nuts.

This strategy can help to lower your risk by up to a very impressive 19 percent.

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, co-director of the Program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts, explains: “Saturated fat is not so bad for you that you can replace it with anything and get [a] benefit. The replacement matters.”
nuts and heart health
Dr. Mozaffarian and his team of researchers analyzed data collected from eight clinical trials involving 13,000 participants who replaced the saturated fat they were consuming with polyunsaturated fat. For every five percent in total calories the participants increased their consumption of polyunsaturated fats, their risk of heart disease decreased by 10 percent.

According to Dr. Mozaffarian, “With all the focus on fat and saturated fat and cholesterol, we’ve put a lot of junk in our diet instead. What a person needs to do is to eat the appropriate amount of calories, and eat a healthy, balanced diet.”

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