Will Dietary Fat and Saturated Fat Give Me a Heart Attack? Maybe.

Will Dietary Fat and Saturated Fat Give Me a Heart Attack? Maybe.

heart_coronary_arteryHey guys and gals.  You know I’m a big proponent of the Weston A. Price foundation and I’m not scared of a little saturated fat in my diet ios.  I’m listening to Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes and the history of our beliefs about what a healthy diet consists of is very interesting.  I’m also a huge fan of research and developing an evidence based approach to what we eat and our health.   

Here’s a recent cochrane review published in American Family Physician that tries to give some recommendations for fat intake in order to decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke audio stream von youtubeen.

Before going on, it’s important to note that this study is part of a cochrane review.  Cochrane reviews are commonly referred to as the highest standard in evidence based research.  Read more about cochrane reviews HERE:  Now on to the good stuff…

Dietary Fat Modification and the Risk of Future Cardiovascular Events and Mortality

Question: Will reducing or modifying dietary fat intake modify mortality (risk of dying from all causes) or risk of future cardiovascular events (nonfatal myocardial infarction, angina, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary bypass surgery or angioplasty) nintendo switch spiele online herunterladen?


  • Reducing or modifying a patient’s dietary fat intake did not lower the rates of either total or cardiovascular-related mortality when compared with usual or control diets.  ie: Regardless of how much fat you eat, it won’t modify your chance of dying either from cardiovascular issues or any other cause.
  • Reducing the intake of total or saturated fats (by substituting mono or polyunsaturated fats instead) decreased the risk of cardiovascular events by 22 percent in those patients who were able to sustain the modified diet for at least two years.  In other words you might have fewer cardiac problems if you follow this diet for two years but it won’t change your total lifespan.
  • Replacing saturated fat with a protein or a carbohydrate (i.e., a low-fat diet) did not decrease the risk of cardiovascular events or total mortality.


  • The benefits to cardiovascular risk associated with a reduced- or modified-fat diet were significant only in the analysis that included studies that involved either a more comprehensive dietary plan or care intervention. This suggests that altering dietary fat intake alone may be insufficient to bring about cardiovascular benefits.  
  • In my mind this is a red flag and represents a selection bias.  How can you attribute the change in cardiovascular events to the change in fat when there are other new variables introduced (ie: Calorie restriction, exercise, modifying food types, sugar and refined flour modifications)?   I don’t think we can definitively implicate the replacement of saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats with decreased risk of cardiac events based on this research.  In my opinion this is not a fair assumption and I’m glad that this journal mentioned this.  Hopefully this is not overlooked by clinicians.  I’d like to see another review that did not include these studies.

Interesting side notes:

  • old-natchez-cheese-21Replacing saturated fat in the diet from meat with saturated fat from dairy may decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.  Pass the cheese please.
  • Some of the authors believe that future dietary recommendations may need to promote types of foods rather than regulating the intake of particular nutrients.  This is a step in the right direction in my opinion.
  • American Family Physician continues to promote a low-fat or modified fat diet (mostly unsaturated fats), even after admitting that the articles did not control for additional variables.
  • In the end diet must be combined with physical activity in order to see the reduction in risk that we want.

About to go eat a block of cheese with olives,

Dan Pope

References:  All from the cochrane database, feel free to read them and let me know if you find anything else interesting!


1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2010.http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2010.asp. Accessed August 10, 2012.

2. Hooper L, Summerbell CD, Higgins JP, et al. Dietary fat intake and prevention of cardiovascular disease: systematic review. BMJ. 2001;322(7289):757-763.

3. Mozaffarian D, Micha R, Wallace S. Effects on coronary heart disease of increasing polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS Med. 2010;7(3):e1000252.

4. de Oliveira Otto MC, Mozaffarian D, Kromhout D, et al. Dietary intake of saturated fat by food source and incident cardiovascular disease: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(2):397-404.

5. Willett WC, Ludwig DS. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines—the best recipe for health? N Engl J Med.2011;365(17):1563-1565.

6. Moyer VA; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Behavioral counseling interventions to promote a healthful diet and physical activity for cardiovascular disease prevention in adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(5):367-371.


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