A recently published study conducted by Harvard University and Brigham hospitals (USA) (Wang et al., 2016) confirms, once again, the protective role of unsaturated fats on preventing death related to heart disease, cancer and neurogenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s).
The study found that replacement of saturated fats with unsaturated fats can confer substantial health benefits and should continue to be a key message to current dietary recommendations.
This very important piece of research initiated in 1980 until 2012 (i.e. 32 years), following the dietary intake, lifestyle and disease relation for a total of 83, 349 women (from the Nurse’s Health Study) and 42, 884 men (from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study).
The aim was to identify the long term associations between dietary intake of specific fats and mortality.
It showed that replacing saturated fatty acids (SFAs) with the same energy from poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was associated with a lower risk for mortality due to Cardiovascular Heart Disease (CVD), cancer and neurogenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s disease). Replacement of 5% of energy from SFAs with 5% of energy from mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) was associated with a 29% estimated reduction in neurogenerative disease mortality.
This high-quality epidemiologic study supports our IMACE Position on SFA and PUFA and reinforces the current dietary recommendations to replace saturated fat by unsaturated fats.