The Monitor Daily (U.S.) – Reducing saturated fats intake does not cut it anymore. Instead, if we want to maintain a healthy heart and good health conditions, we should focus on increasing polyunsaturated fats intake.
A large-scale study comprising food availability and diet plans analysis in 186 countries is the first longitudinal research to present both the impact of saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats on heart health. The association between excessive saturated fats intake and heart disease is well researched. However, the association between different fats and heart disease failed to receive as much attention.
The new longitudinal research tried to repair this mishap. In addition to the food availability and diet plans analysis spanning 186 countries, the research also analyzed previous studies on the topic. Among the findings of the research featuring in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the fact that stands out is that reducing saturated fats intake does not cut it anymore.
Heart disease incidence was analyzed in relation to a high consumption of saturated fats in comparison to a low consumption of polyunsaturated fats.
Fats are conventionally demonized altogether. However, not all fats or fatty acids are created equally. The recent emergence of the Mediterranean diet has shifted attention to a more practical approach to identifying the ‘good’ fats as opposed to the ‘bad’ fats. Including fish, olive oil, plant-derived oils and fresh fruits and vegetables, the Mediterranean diet offers a great example of a diet plan based on polyunsaturated fats or ‘good’ fats. Doctor Dariush Mozaffarian, the lead author of the study declared that:
“Worldwide, policymakers are focused on reducing saturated fats. Yet, we found there would be a much bigger impact on heart disease deaths if the priority was to increase the consumption of polyunsaturated fats”.
Increasing polyunsaturated fats intake could replace refined carbohydrates intake as well as saturated fats intake. In addition, it could supplement the reduction of trans fats intake. Not all fats are created equally. Moreover, fatty acids are a key element for the good functioning of our body. Consuming the right type of fats aids a great deal with energy production at the cellular level as well as with inflammatory response.
Good fats are also key for intercellular communication. Even our mood depends on polyunsaturated fats consumption or the lack thereof. Most importantly, a host of health benefits are directly linked to high polyunsaturated fats consumption.
The extensive study found that 3.6 percent of the global deaths due to heart disease can be linked to high consumption of saturated fats. However, 10 percent of the global deaths attributed to heart disease are linked to low consumption of polyunsaturated fats. That’s a threefold difference in percentage points.
Against this background, the authors of the study recommend a shift from policies promoting the reduction of saturated fats in dietary plans to policies promoting higher consumption of polyunsaturated fats.
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