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Evidence Supports Modifying Dietary Fat to Lower CV Risk

Reduced risk seen with fat modification, but not total fat reduction

MONDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Modification of dietary fat intake, but not the reduction of total fat, is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular events, according to a meta-analysis published in the July issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Lee Hooper, M.D., from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K., and colleagues reviewed the literature available through June 2010 to assess the effect of reduction and/or modification of dietary fat on mortality, cardiovascular mortality and morbidity, and individual outcomes such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and cancer diagnosis. Data were analyzed from randomized trials that sought to reduce or modify fat or cholesterol intake (excluding omega-3 fat), with the intervention lasting for at least six months.

The investigators found that the reduction of saturated fat by decreasing and/or modifying dietary fat intake reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 14 percent (risk ratio [RR], 0.86) in 24 comparisons including 65,508 participants, among whom, 7 percent experienced a cardiovascular event (I² 50 percent). Sub-grouping indicated the cardiovascular event reduction was observed in studies of fat modification (but not fat reduction) that lasted a minimum of two years and involved only males. Changes in dietary fats had no obvious effect on total mortality (RR, 0.98; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.93 to 1.04; 71,790 participants) or cardiovascular mortality (RR 0.94; 95 percent CI, 0.85 to 1.04; 65,978 participants).

"The findings are suggestive of a small but potentially important reduction in cardiovascular risk on modification of dietary fat, but not reduction of total fat, in longer trials," the authors write.

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