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Meta-Analysis
. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46.
doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating the Association of Saturated Fat With Cardiovascular Disease

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Free PMC article
Meta-Analysis

Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating the Association of Saturated Fat With Cardiovascular Disease

Patty W Siri-Tarino et al. Am J Clin Nutr. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: A reduction in dietary saturated fat has generally been thought to improve cardiovascular health.

Objective: The objective of this meta-analysis was to summarize the evidence related to the association of dietary saturated fat with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD; CHD inclusive of stroke) in prospective epidemiologic studies.

Design: Twenty-one studies identified by searching MEDLINE and EMBASE databases and secondary referencing qualified for inclusion in this study. A random-effects model was used to derive composite relative risk estimates for CHD, stroke, and CVD.

Results: During 5-23 y of follow-up of 347,747 subjects, 11,006 developed CHD or stroke. Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD. The pooled relative risk estimates that compared extreme quantiles of saturated fat intake were 1.07 (95% CI: 0.96, 1.19; P = 0.22) for CHD, 0.81 (95% CI: 0.62, 1.05; P = 0.11) for stroke, and 1.00 (95% CI: 0.89, 1.11; P = 0.95) for CVD. Consideration of age, sex, and study quality did not change the results.

Conclusions: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat.

Figures

FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1
Study selection process. CHD, coronary heart disease; CVD, cardiovascular disease; RR, relative risk. 1Three studies provided outcome data for both CHD and stroke.
FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2
Risk ratios and 95% CIs for fully adjusted random-effects models examining associations between saturated fat intake in relation to coronary heart disease and stroke. 1Updated data were provided by respective investigators (4, 5, 8, 18, 29, 35) or derived from a provided data set (9, 36). SAT, saturated fat intake; IV, inverse variance.
FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3
Funnel plot of studies of saturated fat intake in relation to cardiovascular disease. Dotted lines are pseudo 95% CIs. The large studies at the top of the plot were somewhat more symmetrically distributed than the small studies at the bottom. This indicates publication bias favoring studies with significant results. RR, risk ratio.

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