Are saturated fats good for you or not? A new American Heart Association presidential advisory says no.
In a mixed-effects meta-analysis of four core trials and six noncore trials, the AHA found that replacing saturated fats – particularly coconut oil and dairy fats – with vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean oil, significantly lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 29%. Because many foods that are high in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol, these dietary changes have the added benefit of improving cholesterol levels.Frank M. Sacks, MD, professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at Harvard University, Boston, and his fellow researchers. Patients who replaced coconut oil or other saturated fat sources with safflower or soybean oil in the core trials saw improvements in CVD risk, according to the results of the meta-analysis.
On the other hand, replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates did not improve patients’ risk of CVD, according to the investigators, although further research into the effects of different types of carbohydrates is needed.
“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil” and other oils high in saturated fats, the researchers wrote.
Read more in Circulation (2017 Jun 15. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510).
Dr. Sacks reported no relevant financial disclosures. Several researchers disclosed research grants from or consultant/advisory roles with a number of pharmaceutical and nutrition companies.