American Heart Association Releases New Advisory on Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease 


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Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, and it is anticipated that this number will increase to more than 23.6 million by the year 2030. Since 1961, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended reduction in dietary saturated fat to reduce the risk of CVD. A new AHA Presidential Advisory reviews and examines the scientific evidence supporting this longstanding recommendation to decrease saturated fat intake, and increase polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat intake to reduce risk of CVD.

Key takeaways:

  • The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 10% of calories from saturated fat and replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat (currently, only 30-40% of the adult population consumes less than 10% of calories from saturated fat).
  • Many observational studies have showed that a decreased intake of saturated fat coupled with an increased intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are associated with lower rates of CVD.
  • In one study, results showed that decreasing saturated fat intake and replacing it with soybean oil and other vegetable oils with polyunsaturated fat lowered coronary heart disease by 29%.
  • Saturated fat increases LDL cholesterol, a major cause of plaque build-up in the arteries and CVD. By replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, LDL cholesterol is decreased. 
  • When saturated fats are replaced with carbohydrates, there is no evidence of lower CVD risk.

Read the full AHA Presidential Advisory here.

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