Dietary fat composition and cardiovascular disease
Minihane, A.M. (2007) Dietary fat composition and cardiovascular disease. Food Science and Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods, 3. pp. 13-22. ISSN 1476-2137
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Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes coronary heart disease and stroke, remains the major killer in the EU, being responsible for 42% of total mortality. The amount and composition of dietary fat is arguably the most important dietary factor contributing to disease risk. A significant body of consistent evidence indicates that a decrease in dietary saturated fat:unsaturated (polyunsaturated + monounsaturated) ratio and an increased intake of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) found in fish, is cardioprotective. Furthermore, although the evidence is currently less convincing, such a strategy is also likely to improve insulin sensitivity, the central metabolic defect in diabetes. Currently in the UK only 12% of men, 17% of women and 8% of children have an SFA intakes <10% of energy. The average intake of LC n-3 PUFA is <0.2 g/day, which is less than half the current conservative recommendation of a minimum of 0.45 g/day. Public health strategies to reverse these dietary fatty acid imbalances, aimed at educating and motivating the consumer and making affordable and acceptable food products with an ‘enhanced’ fatty acid profile more widely available, must remain a public health priority in the ‘fight’ against CVD.