Evidence does not support guidelines on fatty acid consumption to reduce coronary risk

Main Point:

Current evidence does not support nutritional guidelines that advocate high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.

Published in:

Annals of Internal Medicine

Study Further:

For cardiovascular health, nutritional guidelines generally encourage low consumption of saturated fats, high consumption of w-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and avoidance of trans fats. However, uncertainties in available evidence have contributed to the considerable variation in international guidelines about optimum amounts and types of fatty acids people should consume.

Further complicating data interpretation, earlier analyses have generally not assessed the consistency between studies that rely on dietary self-report and biomarker measures of fatty acids in relation to coronary disease.

Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of data from long-term prospective observational studies of a broad range of both dietary and biomarker fatty acid measures in coronary disease. They also examined associations with coronary outcomes in randomized trials of fatty acid supplementation.

The researchers’ findings did not support cardiovascular guidelines that promote high consumption of long-chain w-3 and w-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and reduced consumption of total saturated fatty acids. They also found that supplementation did not statistically significantly reduce the risk for coronary outcomes.


R. Chowdhury, S. Warnakula, S. Kunutsor, F. Crowe, H.A. Ward, L. Johnson, O.H. Franco, A. Butterworth, N.G. Forouhi, S.G. Thompson, K. Khaw, D. Mozaffarian, J. Danesh, E. Di Angelantonio. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine (2014). Reviews, 160 (6), 398-406. http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M13-1788


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