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No Evidence Fatty Acid Guidelines Cut Coronary Risk

Guidelines urging high polyunsaturated fatty acid intake, low total saturated fat intake may be wrong

No Evidence Fatty Acid Guidelines Cut Coronary Risk

TUESDAY, March 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence does not support the current fatty acid consumption guidelines, according to a review published in the March 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Rajiv Chowdhury, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to evaluate evidence regarding associations between fatty acids and coronary disease. The authors identified 32 observational studies of fatty acids from dietary intake, 17 observational studies of fatty acid biomarkers, and 27 randomized, controlled trials of fatty acid supplementation.

The researchers found that relative risks for coronary disease comparing top versus bottom thirds of baseline dietary fatty acid intake in the observational studies were 1.02 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.97 to 1.07) for saturated, 0.99 (CI, 0.89 to 1.09) for monounsaturated, 0.93 (CI, 0.84 to 1.02) for long-chain ω-3 polyunsaturated, 1.01 (CI, 0.96 to 1.07) for ω-6 polyunsaturated, and 1.16 (CI, 1.06 to 1.27) for trans fatty acids. For circulating fatty acids, the corresponding estimates were 1.06 (CI, 0.86 to 1.30), 1.06 (CI, 0.97 to 1.17), 0.84 (CI, 0.63 to 1.11), 0.94 (CI, 0.84 to 1.06), and 1.05 (CI, 0.76 to 1.44). The relative risks for coronary disease in randomized controlled trials were 0.97 (CI, 0.69 to 1.36) for α-linolenic, 0.94 (CI, 0.86 to 1.03) for long-chain ω-3 polyunsaturated, and 0.89 (CI, 0.71 to 1.12) for ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementations.

"Current evidence does not clearly support guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats," Chowdhury and colleagues conclude.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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