Effects of saturated fatty acids on serum lipids and lipoproteins: a systematic review and regression analysis
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading causes of death and were responsible for 38 million of the world’s 56 million deaths in 2012. Of the major NCDs, cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the leading cause of NCD mortality in 2012 and was responsible for nearly half of all NCD deaths. Modifiable risk factors such as poor diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol are major causes of CVD. Dietary saturated fatty acids are of particular concern as high levels of intake are correlated with increased risk of CVD.
Saturated fatty acids are found in foods from animal sources such as butter, cows’ milk, meat, salmon, and egg yolks, and some plant-derived products such as chocolate and cocoa butter, coconut, and palm kernel oils.
High levels of saturated fatty acid intake have a negative effect on the blood lipid profile, including elevation of LDL cholesterol, a well-accepted biomarker for risk of CVD.
Results of this systematic review show that replacing saturated fatty acids with other macronutrients, particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids, has a favourable effect on the blood lipid profile, including lowering of LDL cholesterol levels.