12 January - 20 June 2016

Study supports dietary recommendations to replace saturated and trans-fat with unsaturated fat

Recently there has been much confusion and controversy regarding the place of saturated fats in a healthy diet. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has examined the associations of specific dietary fats with total and cause-specific mortality in 2 large ongoing cohort studies.

Recently there has been much confusion and controversy regarding the place of saturated fats in a healthy diet.  A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has examined the associations of specific dietary fats with total and cause-specific mortality in 2 large ongoing cohort studies. 

Wang et al. followed 126,233 people who were involved in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS).  Every two to four years the participants reported on their diet, lifestyle and health.  After adjusting for confounding factors, the scientists calculated the effect on the chances of having died from any cause or from specific causes of consuming different types of fat. 

During 32 years of follow-up in the NHS there were 20,314 deaths documented and during 26 years of follow up in the HPFS, 12,990 deaths were documented.  Those who consumed higher amount of saturated fats and monounsaturated fats were found at baseline to have higher BMI’s, higher levels of total energy and dietary cholesterol intake. They were however less likely to be physically active, to use multivitamin and vitamin E supplements and to report a history of hypertension or hypercholesterolemia.

Wang et al report that higher consumption of polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat were associated with lower mortality, whereas higher intakes of saturated fats and trans fatty acids were associated with increased mortality. Every 2% higher intake of trans fat was associated with a 16% higher chance of premature death during the study period. Higher consumption of saturated fats was also linked with greater mortality risk. When compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrate, every 5% increase in saturated fat intake was associated with an 8% higher risk of overall mortality. Intake of high amounts of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated were associated with between 11% and 19% lower overall mortality compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrates. Among the polyunsaturated fats, both omega-6, found in most plant oils, and omega-3 fatty acids, were associated with lower risk of premature death.

 The study states: “Our study shows the importance of eliminating trans fats and replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats, including both omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In practice, this can be achieved by replacing animal fats with a variety of liquid vegetable oils."

RSSL has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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