Cutting back on consuming too much saturated fat commonly found in dairy, fried food and red meat and whole grains reduces heart diseases risk, says a new study.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Frank Hu from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed the data on dietary consumption and heart conditions of 84,628 women in Nurses' Health Study and 42,908 men in Health Professionals Follow Up Study who were followed for nearly 30 years.The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Results showed that people who ate more saturated fat had higher risks for heart disease than those who ate less, while those who ate healthier fats called polyunsaturated fats (found in vegetable oil) and more whole grain carbohydrates had lower risks for heart disease compared to those who consumed less of these nutrients.
Some participants replaced 5% saturated fat with carbohydrates on their diets, but researchers found that those who consumed refined carbohydrates found in starches, pastas and other foods made from refined flour were likely to develop heart problems as well.
Meanwhile, those who replaced 5% of their saturated fat intake with healthier fats found in olive oil and vegetable oil and whole grain carbohydrates reduced their risks for heart disease by 9% to 25%.
"Our findings suggest that when patients are making lifestyle changes to their diets, cardiologists should encourage the consumption of unsaturated fats like vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds, as well as healthy carbohydrates such as wholegrains", said Dr. Frank Hu, lead author of the study.