Study Says The Source Of Saturated Fats Matters For Heart Health

Using data from the University of Cambridge’s EPIC-CVD study, they compared 10,529 people who developed heart disease with 16,730 who did not, specifically looking at dietary habits and taking into account age, sex, physical activity levels, whether they smoked or drank alcohol and whether they had overweight or obesity. 

From there, they found that the data showed no specific correlation between saturated fats and a risk of developing heart disease overall, but when they zoomed in on specific dietary habits, more patterns appeared. “We found that people who ate more saturated fats from red meat and butter were more likely to develop heart disease,” wrote Marinka Steur, Ph.D., and Nita Forouhi, Ph.D., two of the study authors, in a press release. “The opposite was true for those who ate more saturated fats from cheese, yogurt and fish—which were actually linked to a lower risk of heart disease.”

According to the researchers, these findings align with previous research—they specifically cite a 2017 study that highlighted the link between food groups and risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. In the case of the recent study, the observational nature of the research means that the link between the type of food that contains the saturated fat and heart disease risk can only be called an association—there’s no way to prove any cause, given the other factors at play.

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