Saturated Fat and Dietary Cholesterol

Many studies over the past 30 years have established that SFA is consistently positively correlated with TC and LDL-C levels. Dietary cholesterol also increases TC and LDL-C levels but to a much lesser degree than SFA. RCTs have demonstrated that diets low in SFA (<7% of energy intake) and cholesterol (<200 mg/day) bring about reductions in LDL-C levels of approximately 10%. Although the literature suggests reducing SFA intake has no effect on CHD mortality, it may reduce the risk of CHD events [4], but the literature is conflicting. A cohort study including 5209 participants suggests that the dietary source of SFA may be more important, i.e., SFA from meat are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) whereas no risk was found for dairy or plant-based SFA [5].

Trans Fatty Acids

Like SFA, TFA also raises TC and LDL-C levels. However, whereas SFA tends to increase HDL-C, TFA lowers it. A recent meta-analysis reported TFA intake is associated with an increase in CHD risk of 16%, when comparing the top and bottom thirds of intake [3]. These findings reinforce the importance of recent public health initiatives directed at minimizing dietary intake of TFA.

 
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