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Eur J Med Res. 2003 Aug 20;8(8):321-4.

Dietary fatty acids and coronary heart disease.

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Department of Food and Nutrition, Technical University Munich, Alte Akademie 16, D-85350 Freising, Germany.


Epidemiological studies have confirmed a strong association between fat intake, especially saturated and trans fatty acids, plasma cholesterol levels and rate of coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality. Meanwhile it is clear, that early atherosclerosis is largely preventable by modifying nutritional behaviour and lifestyle. There is clear evidence that a diet moderate in total fat (25-35 % energy) is superior to extremes in dietary fat. Because fat is energy dense moderation in fat intake is also essential for weight control. Saturated fatty acids are very potent in increasing LDL-cholesterol concentration in plasma a dangerous risk factor for early CHD. Unsaturated fatty acids have numerous beneficial health effects. The results of prospective cohort studies fit well to the experimental experience of the antihypercholesterolemic action of Omega-6 fatty acids and the antithrombotic, vasodilatory and antiarrhythmic properties of Omega-3 fatty acids, while the optimistic rating of Omega-9 fatty acids is less supported by epidemiologic studies. The results of prospective cohort studies are confirmed by intervention trials revealing that saturated fatty acids enhance early development of CHD whereas polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially of the Omega-3 type, significantly preserve from CHD. In context with a prudent diet pattern favourable dietary fatty acid composition offers the best chance for a reduced risk of CHD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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