An extensive study among 130,000 people found that unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, walnuts and whole grains lower the risk of heart disease compared to saturated fats. Participants have filled in a questionnaire and have been followed for 30 years. The questionnaire was repeated every four years during the follow up period, so that changes in diet of individuals have been taken into account. Individuals that were known with a malignancy, diabetes or a form of cardiovascular disease at the start of the investigation has been excluded. Individuals who developed one of the mentioned diseases during the follow up period have not been excluded. Female subjects were part of the Nurses’ Health Study. Male subjects were part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
Many people think that all fats are the same, but in fact, there are many types of fat. Saturated fats have a bad influence on our health, but unsaturated fats are essential to a healthy diet. The findings have been published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology and showed that replacing only 5% of your diet, reduces the risk of heart disease up to 25%. There are many alternatives for saturated fats available. For example, butter could be easily replaced by olive oil for baking. This finding should be spread, especially among individuals who already have an increased risk of cardiac disease, since replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats appears to have a huge influence on cardiac health.
Studies that have been carried out earlier claimed that lowering the daily intake of saturated fats would not decrease the risk of heart disease. This statement appears to be untrue. This is explained by the fact that most people replace the decrease in saturated fats by refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and potatoes achieve their daily calorie intake. These carbohydrates are also linked to heart disease. Therefore, it is essential to replace the unhealthy fats by healthy fats, instead of unhealthy carbohydrates.