What is the role of saturated fats in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

Updated: May 25, 2018
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Because fats are often replaced with refined carbohydrates in low-fat diets, and this is generally associated with dyslipidemia, the focus of the committee recommendation is on optimizing types of dietary fat and not reducing fat. The committee recommended retaining the upper limit of 10% of daily calories from saturated fat, with an emphasis on replacing saturated fats with non-hydrogenated vegetable oils that are high in unsaturated fats (eg, soybean, corn, olive, and canola oils).

“Low-fat” and “nonfat” products with high amounts of refined carbohydrates and added sugars should be replaced with whole grains, legumes, vegetables,  fruits and healthy sources of fats such as nuts/seeds and non -hydrogenated vegetable oils.

The AHA/ACC guidelines recommend a stricter goal of 5%-6% of calories from saturated fats for lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. Reduction in percent of calories from saturated fat is strongly recommended but the guidelines noted that the greatest positive effect on LDL-C levels was associated with replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats, followed by monounsaturated fats and carbohydrates; for carbohydrate substitution, whole grains are preferred over refined carbohydrates. [9]

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