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Saturated fat: villain and bogeyman in the development of cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading global cause of death. For decades, the conventional wisdom has been that the consumption of saturated fat (SFA) undermines cardiovascular health, clogs the arteries, increases risk of CVD and leads to heart attacks. It is timely to investigate whether this claim holds up to scientific scrutiny.

The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss recent scientific evidence on the association between dietary SFA and CVD.

PubMed, Google scholar and Scopus were searched for articles published between 2010 and 2021 on the association between SFA consumption and CVD risk and outcomes. A review was conducted examining observational studies and prospective epidemiologic cohort studies, RCTs, systematic reviews and meta analyses of observational studies and prospective epidemiologic cohort studies and long-term RCTs.

Collectively, neither observational studies, prospective epidemiologic cohort studies, RCTs, systematic reviews and meta analyses have conclusively established a significant association between SFA in the diet and subsequent cardiovascular risk and CAD, MI or mortality nor a benefit of reducing dietary SFAs on CVD rick, events and mortality. Beneficial effects of replacement of SFA by polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat or carbohydrates remain elusive.

Findings from the studies reviewed in this paper indicate that the consumption of SFA is not significantly associated with CVD risk, events or mortality. Based on the scientific evidence, there is no scientific ground to demonize SFA as a cause of CVD. SFA naturally occurring in nutrient-dense foods can be safely included in the diet.

Saturated fat doesn't correlate to heart disease, meaning that eating it throughout evolution would have been healthy



Saturated Fat may have been a main part of our diet if it didn't lead to heart disease. We'd expect an evolutionary appropriate diet wouldn't lead to chronic disease.

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