Progressing Insights into the Role of Dietary Fats in the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2016 Nov;18(11):111. doi: 10.1007/s11886-016-0793-y.


Dietary fats have important effects on the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Abundant evidence shows that partial replacement of saturated fatty acids (SAFA) with unsaturated fatty acids improves the blood lipid and lipoprotein profile and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Low-fat diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugar are not effective. Very long-chain polyunsaturated n-3 or omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 VLCPUFA) present in fish have multiple beneficial metabolic effects, and regular intake of fatty fish is associated with lower risks of fatal CHD and stroke. Food-based guidelines on dietary fats recommend limiting the consumption of animal fats high in SAFA, using vegetable oils high in monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and eating fatty fish. These recommendations are part of a healthy eating pattern that also includes ample intake of plant-based foods rich in fiber and limited sugar and salt.

Keywords: Blood lipids and lipoproteins; Omega-3; Omega-6; Review; Saturated fat; Unsaturated fat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / methods*
  • Diet, Healthy / methods*
  • Dietary Fats* / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Preventive Health Services*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lipids