A review study from the University of Reading suggests that saturated fats, particularly in dairy foods, may not be directly linked to heart disease risk.
Heart disease is a major cause of death in many parts of the world.
Many dietary guidelines limit the intake of saturated fats as they are regarded as an important risk factor for heart disease due to their association with increased blood cholesterol.
Dairy foods are often a major contributor to the dietary intake of saturated fats.
since many dietary guidelines contain restrictions on saturated fat intake, this can lead to a moderation of dairy food intake despite research generally showing dairy foods are not related to a higher risk of heart disease.
Many studies do not support a simple positive association between saturated fat intake and the risk of heart disease and its components, although some early studies had a number of methodological weaknesses.
Studies that included blood cholesterol data do support the positive link between saturated fats and blood low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), but without increased heart disease risk resulting.
These findings suggest that LDL-C alone is not a consistently good predictor or cause of heart disease risk, particularly in relation to dairy food consumption.
Some non-dairy food studies have also shown LDL-C reduction was not reflected in reduced heart disease risk.
The current review overall found restrictions on dairy food intake do not seem to benefit heart health.
But there remains a need to further understand the association of different dairy food types with chronic diseases, perhaps particularly for type 2 diabetes.
The research was published in Nutrition Bulletin and conducted by David Ian Givens.
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