Vegetable fat might increase heart disease risk: says study

Vegetable fat might increase heart disease risk: says study


If you replace animal fat with vegetable oil with a view to lower the risk of heart disease, you may be doing it wrong. A new study, published on Wednesday, finds a connection between vegetable fat and increased heart disease risk. The study defies a cornerstone of dietary opinion.

Switching from saturated to unsaturated Omega-6 fats Omega did show reduced blood cholesterol in a clinical trial with about 10,000 participants, it said, but not the anticipated reduction  in deaths caused due to heart diseases. In fact, those who showed a significant reduction in cholesterol had a greater instead of a lower death risk, as per the research study published by the medical journal BMJ.

For 50-odd years, animal fat present in meat, cheese, butter and cream was considered the bad boy in the diet plan – held responsible for increasing artery-clogging cholesterol connected with heart disease and stroke. In the year 1961, the American Health Association advised people to replace vegetable oils with saturated fats, but new findings have now started to challenge that premise.

The World Health Organization too recommends that saturated fats should consist of less than 10 percent of the whole energy consumption. For decades now, the world has looked at full-fat milk and bacon with skepticism and replaced butter with cooking oils and margarine derived from plants and pork with chicken. However in the past few years, researchers have begun poking holes in the assumption called “fat is bad”.

A recent study, headed by Christopher Ramsden at the National Institutes of Health, re-studied data from a randomly conducted controlled trial took place 45 years back with 9,423 residents of state mental hospitals and nursing home located in Minnesota.

This is a type of experiment, usually taken to be greatly reliable, in which people are randomly divided into groups to receive or not the treatment being examined.

Part of the Minnesota-based group had consumed saturated fat replaced with corn oil, whereas the rest were given a diet rich in animal fat.  According to the statement given by The BMJ, the diet high in linoleic acid (a fatty acid found in plant oils) reduced levels of cholesterol. However “this did not translate into improved survival. In fact, participants who had a greater reduction in blood cholesterol had higher, rather than lower, the risk of death.”

The team also analyzed other randomly organized controlled trials and could find no evidence to maintain the hypothesis that vegetable oils control heart disease.

The pros of choosing polyunsaturated fat over saturated fat to appear a little less certain than they thought, commented Lennert Veerman on the research, a lecturer from the Queensland School of Public Health University. He added by saying that further research is required to assess whether all Omega-6 type fats show similar outcomes. “While we wait for further clarification, we should continue to eat more fish, fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” Veerman wrote.

In the month of January, updated guidelines by US dietary reiterated the fact that saturated fats should not be more than 10 percent of your day’s food consumption – a suggestion which now will be put under increased scrutiny, says Veerman. In case blood cholesterol values are not a dependable sign of possibility of cardiovascular disease, a thorough review of the proof that adds force to the dietary suggestions is highly called for, he mentioned in The BMJ.

Other experts emphasized that there was an established connection between high cholesterol and the risk of stroke or heart attack. Extensive research and longer studies are required to study whether or not consuming less saturated fat can lower cardiovascular death risk, according to Jeremy Pearson from the British Heart Foundation.