Evidence for and against dietary recommendations to prevent cardiovascular disease

Tex Heart Inst J. 2015 Jun 1;42(3):234-6. doi: 10.14503/THIJ-15-5072. eCollection 2015 Jun.


Evidence-based dietary guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease have changed significantly over the past 9 years. Now less emphasis is placed on total dietary fat and cholesterol restriction and more emphasis on restricting saturated fat. The public outcry to stop demonizing saturated fats has been around for some time. We are now hearing more agreement from medical researchers and clinicians alike, as they become aware of evidence that some saturated fatty acids are not harmful and some are actually beneficial. Another criticism of the dietary guidelines is their failure to look at more meaningful outcomes in research. Instead of using low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol to measure risk, they should use markers for inflammation, obesity, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome-all well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Perhaps the recommendations that arise from dietary research would be more meaningful if they were presented more simply: in terms of whole foods (like dairy products and fresh meat), rather than nutrients (like saturated fat).

Keywords: Cholesterol, HDL/blood; cholesterol, LDL/blood; coronary disease/prevention & control; diabetes mellitus; dietary fats/administration & dosage; dietary guidelines; dietary recommendations; fatty acids, unsaturated; risk factors; saturated fat.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy*