Dietary recommendations to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) have focused on reducing intake of saturated fatty acids (SFA) for more than 50 years. While the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise substituting both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids for SFA, evidence supports other nutrient substitutions that will also reduce CVD risk. For example, replacing SFA with whole grains, but not refined carbohydrates, reduces CVD risk. Replacing SFA with protein, especially plant protein, may also reduce CVD risk. While dairy fat (milk, cheese) is associated with a slightly lower CVD risk compared to meat, dairy fat results in a significantly greater CVD risk relative to unsaturated fatty acids. As research continues, we will refine our understanding of dietary patterns associated with lower CVD risk.
Keywords: CVD; dairy fat; dietary substitution; monounsaturated fatty acids; polyunsaturated fatty acids; protein; refined carbohydrates; saturated fatty acids; whole grains.