In the Journal Circulation, the American Heart Association (AHA) released their 2017 Presidential Advisory on Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease. The 2017 recommendations released by the AHA are based on updates in cardiovascular disease research.

Key messages include:

  • Replacing the intake of dietary saturated fat (from meat and animal products) with polyunsaturated fat (from vegetable oil) reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 30%
  • Dietary strategies that substitute the intake of saturated fat for carbohydrates do not prevent cardiovascular disease. This dietary strategy did not yield benefits to decreasing cardiovascular disease risk because the type of carbohydrates consumed were not restricted to healthier forms (i.e. whole grains, fruits/vegetables, and beans/legumes)
  • Saturated fat intake increases LDL cholesterol (i.e. bad cholesterol). Replacing saturated fat with healthy fats (polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat) decreases LDL cholesterol (high LDL cholesterol is a primary marker/risk factor for cardiovascular disease)
  • Coconut oil, a plant based source of saturated fats, increases LDL cholesterol levels. Due to this effect, widespread dietary intake of coconut oil is not advised
  • Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats lowers blood triglyceride levels (a marker of risk of cardiovascular disease)
  • In nonhuman primates, replacing dietary saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat prevents and improves atherosclerosis

For more on cardiovascular disease, or how a naturopath can help you to reduce your risk, please call 613-290-6115.

Graham Beaton is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing at Ottawa Collaborative Care in Ottawa.