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J Nutr. 2019 Jan 1;149(1):68-77. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy237.

Saturated Fatty Acid Intake Is Associated with Total Mortality in a Nationwide Cohort Study.

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National Engineering Laboratory of Intelligent Food Technology and Equipment, Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Agro-Food Processing, Fuli Institute of Food Science, College of Biosystems Engineering and Food Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.



Dietary intakes of total and specific types of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) in relation to total mortality remain largely unknown in China.


We assessed the associations of total and individual SFA intakes with total mortality in a Chinese nationwide population.


This prospective analysis included 7888 women and 6495 men, aged >20 y, from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (1989-2011). Cumulative mean of SFA intake was calculated based on 3 d of 24-h records in each round of the survey. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate HR and 95% CI.


There were 1011 deaths during a median of 14 y of follow-up. In isocaloric nutrient density models that replace total carbohydrates, intakes of total SFAs and even-chain SFAs were associated with higher total mortality in women but not in men. Compared with the lowest quartiles, the HRs (95% CIs) in the highest quartiles were 1.65 (1.03, 2.62) for total SFAs (P-trend = 0.042) and 1.83 (1.13, 2.94) for even-chain SFAs (P-trend = 0.016) in women. Intake of odd-chain SFAs was associated with lower total mortality both in men [HR (95% CI): 0.64 (0.47, 0.87); P-trend = 0.01] and in women [HR (95% CI): 0.59 (0.42, 0.84); P-trend = 0.0013]. Moreover, intake of medium-chain SFAs was linked with lower total mortality in men [HR (95% CI): 0.64 (0.44, 0.93); P-trend = 0.013]. However, isocalorically replacing 1% of energy from unsaturated fatty acids with even-chain SFAs was associated with higher total mortality in men [HRs (95% CIs): 1.08 (0.97, 1.20) and 1.39 (1.20, 1.60) for replacing PUFAs and MUFAs, respectively].


Total SFA and even-chain SFA intake was associated with higher total mortality in women, whereas intake of odd-chain SFAs was related to lower total mortality in both sexes. This analysis of cohort was registered at as NCT03281512.


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