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Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Dec;69(8):916-927. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2018.1455813. Epub 2018 Apr 4.

Dietary fats and cardiovascular health: a summary of the scientific evidence and current debate.

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a Department of Environmental Health Sciences , IRCCS - Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri" , Milan , Italy.


This narrative review summarises the main studies of the role of the different fatty acids in coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and the current scientific debate on dietary recommendations. Reduction and substitution of the saturated fatty acids (SFAs) with the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are still the main dietary recommendation to prevent CHD and CVD. In the last few years, however, the strength of the scientific evidence underlying this dietary advice has been questioned. Recent investigations reappraise the previously declared deleterious role of the SFAs and reduce the positive role of PUFAs, mainly the omega-6, whereas the role of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) remains unclear. In contrast, the negative effects of trans fatty acids (TFAs) seem stronger than previously thought. Finally, criticisms have emerged from a dietary recommendation approach focussed on individual components rather than on wide food items and eating habits.


Saturated fatty acids; cardiovascular disease; coronary heart disease; dietary guidelines; polyunsaturated fatty acids; trans fatty acids

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