Dietary total fat, fatty acids intake, and risk of cardiovascular disease: a dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies

Lipids Health Dis. 2019 Apr 6;18(1):91. doi: 10.1186/s12944-019-1035-2.


Background: Several epidemiological studies have investigated the association between dietary fat intake and cardiovascular disease. However, dietary recommendations based on systematic review and meta-analysis might be more credible.

Methods and results: Pubmed, Embase and Cochrane library were searched up to July 1st 2018 for cohort studies reporting associations of dietary fat intake and risk of CVDs. By comparing the highest vs. the lowest categories of fat or fatty acids intake, we found that higher dietary trans fatty acids (TFA) intake was associated with increased risk of CVDs [RR:1.14(1.08-1.21)]. However, no association was observed between total fat, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), saturated fatty acids (SFA), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and risk of CVDs. Subgroup analysis found a cardio-protective effect of PUFA in the studies that has been followed up more than 10 years [0.95(0.91-0.99), I2 = 62.4%]. Dose-response analysis suggested that the risk of CVDs increased 16% [1.16 (1.07-1.25), Plinearity = 0.033] for an increment of 2% energy/day of TFA intake.

Conclusions: This current meta-analysis of cohort studies suggested that total fat, SFA, MUFA, and PUFA intake were not associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, we found that higher TFA intake is associated with greater risk of CVDs in a dose-response fashion. Furthermore, the subgroup analysis found a cardio-protective effect of PUFA in studies followed up for more than 10 years.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Dose-response; Fat; Fatty acids; Meta-analysis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Trans Fatty Acids / adverse effects


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Trans Fatty Acids