The confusion about dietary fatty acids recommendations for CHD prevention.Br J Nutr 2011; 106(5):627-32BJ
A recent meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies has not found an association between dietary saturated fat intake and CHD incidence. This funnelled the discussion about the importance of the recommendation to lower the intake of saturated fat for the prevention of CHD. At the same time a document of the European Food Safety Authority has suggested that specific quantitative recommendations are not needed for individual fatty acids but that more general statements can suffice. In this review, we discuss methodological aspects of the absence of association between SFA intake and CHD incidence in prospective cohort studies. We also summarise the results of the controlled dietary experiments on blood lipids and on CHD incidence in which saturated fat was replaced by either cis-unsaturated fat or carbohydrates. Finally, we propose a nutritionally adequate diet with an optimal fatty acid composition for the prevention of CHD in the context of dietary patterns. Such diets are characterised by a low intake of saturated fat, and as low as possible intake of trans-fat and fulfil the requirements for the intake of n-6 and n-3 fatty acids. No recommendation is needed for the intake of cis-MUFA.