In a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that substituting saturated fats for unsaturated fats is better for heart health. Coronary heart disease, or CHD, is the number one cause of death worldwide according to the study. Seven million people died from CHD in 2010. Researchers in this study attributed dietary fats to CHD deaths.
According to Forbes, researchers found that limiting saturated fats and refined carbohydrates could save millions of lives. Lives that would otherwise be cut short by heart disease. The trick, as reported by Forbes, is to replace the bad fats with the good fats.
The observational study looked at data from 186 countries and nearly 4 billion people. With this information researchers created models to interpret information on deaths related to heart disease. They used these models to predict how the consumption of saturated and polyunsaturated fats might factor in to future deaths.
Forty-five percent of CHD deaths observed in this study happened to people under 70-years of age, 43 percent of which were female. In the 20 most populous countries of the 186 studied, Russia, Germany and Egypt had the highest mortality rates of CHD related to lack of omega-6 (polyunsaturated fat).
CHD deaths related to high saturated fat consumption was also highest in Russia, as well as the Philippines and Thailand. The lowest CHD death rates related to saturated fat consumption were in Iran, Pakistan and India, but these countries had high CHD deaths related to low omega-6 consumption.
Omega-6 fats are typically vegetable based, saturated fats are found in meat and dairy products while trans fats are found in processed and fried foods.
Forbes reported that over 710,000 deaths were probably linked to low levels of omega-6 fats contributing to approximate 10 percent of deaths, 3.6 percent of deaths associated with saturated fat consumption and 7.7 percent of deaths associated with trans fat consumption. Omega-6 fats are typically vegetable based, saturated fats are found in meat and dairy products while trans fats are found in processed and fried foods.
The take away from the study is that omega-6 fats are good while trans fats and saturated fats can contribute to CHD.