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Unsaturated Fats and Your Heart

Still have questions about unsaturated fats and your heart? Are those questions even more complicated by the use of carbohydrates? A new study just published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology may have the answers you're looking for. For the study, researchers from Harvard, Cleveland Clinic, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted research that compared saturated fat with other types of fats and different types of carbohydrates in relation to coronary heart disease risk. The study followed the diet and health information from participants in two long-running studies, the Nurses’ Health Study which included 84,628 women from 1980 to 2010 and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study of 42,908 men from 1986 to 2010. At the beginning of the study, participants were free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. They were followed up with a questionnaire every 4 years for the length of the study, during which the researchers noted 7,667 cases of coronary heart disease. The scientists found that replacing saturated fats in the diet with higher intakes of polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates from whole grains is significantly linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease. It is important to note that replacing the saturated fat in your diet with refined carbohydrates do not lower the risk for heart disease. In fact, researchers found that saturated fats and refined carbohydrates are similarly unhealthful for heart health. The researchers came to the conclusion that replacing 5 percent of energy intake from saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats is associated with a 25 percent reduction of risk for coronary heart disease, replacing with monounsaturated fats with a 15 percent lower risk, and and with carbohydrates from whole grains with a 9 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. Fats and carbohydrates are like any other item in your diet, opt for the healthier choice and you’ll reap the benefits!

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