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Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease Questioned

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Fried Eggs in PanThe American Heart Association currently recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats consumed daily to less than seven percent of total daily calories in order to reduce the risk of heart disease. However, a new analysis performed by an international group led by researchers at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom challenges the current guidelines on saturated fat.

As published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the analysis included 72 separate studies on heart disease risk and intake of fatty acids. The studies included over 600,000 participants in 18 different countries.

Based on the meta-analysis, the researchers found no evidence supporting the guidelines recommending the restriction of saturated fat consumption in order to lower the risk of developing heart disease. The researchers also found insufficient evidence to support the guidelines that advice the consumption more foods containing polyunsaturated fats (such as omega-3 and omega-6) to reduce heart disease risk.

States Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, “This analysis of existing data suggests there isn’t enough evidence to say that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats but low in saturated fats reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Lead author Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury of the University of Cambridge believes that the findings warrant careful questioning of current dietary guidelines:

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“Cardiovascular disease, in which the principal manifestation is coronary heart disease, remains the single leading cause of death and disability worldwide. In 2008, more than 17 million people died from a cardiovascular cause globally. With so many affected by this illness, it is critical to have appropriate prevention guidelines which are informed by the best available scientific evidence.”

Although the meta-analysis indicates that limiting saturated fat and increasing unsaturated fats do not decrease the risk of heart disease, additional research is needed to draw any firm conclusions based on the present evidence.

Ultimately, it is no secret that cardiovascular diseases can become severely disabling. Consequently, if you or someone you know is suffering from a form of heart disease and is unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

Furthermore, if you have taken out a long term disability insurance policy, you may also be able to claim disability insurance payments using this insurance. To learn more about disability insurance, including long term disability insurance quotes, do not be afraid to reach out to a disability insurance expert in your local area for some advice and support.

For now though, Prof. Pearson shared some crucial advice: “Alongside taking any necessary medication, the best way to stay heart healthy is to stop smoking, stay active, and ensure our whole diet is healthy – and this means considering not only the fats in our diet but also our intake of salt, sugar and fruit and vegetables.”

References

Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1846638
Experts Question Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/274166.php
New Evidence Raises Qquestions About the Link Between Fatty Acids and Heart Disease: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-03/uoc-ner031414.php

Image Credits

Fried Eggs in Pan: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/811953

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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cat. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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