The association between dietary fats and the incidence risk of cardiovascular outcomes: Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study

Nutr Metab (Lond). 2021 Oct 30;18(1):96. doi: 10.1186/s12986-021-00624-6.


Background: The association between dietary fats and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is under debate. We aimed to determine the potential effects of dietary saturated fats (SFA), mono-unsaturated (MUFA) and poly-unsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids on the occurrence of CVD in an adult Asian population.

Methods: This study was conducted within the framework of the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study on 2809 CVD-free adults, aged ≥ 19 years. Dietary intakes of fats were estimated using a validated 168-items semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, at baseline. Adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals of CVD were calculated in tertile categories of dietary fats. The risk of CVD was estimated with multivariable Cox regression for the substitution of total fat or SFA with other macronutrients.

Results: During 10.6 years of follow up, the incidence rate of CVD events was 7.1%. Mean (± SD) age of the participants was 39 (± 14) years and 43.9% were men. Total fat, animal and plant sources of fats were not associated with risk of CVD events. No significant associations were found between total SFA, lauric acid, myristic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid as well as MUFA and PUFA and CVD incidence. Substitutions of total fats or SFA with other macronutrients were not associated with CVD risk.

Conclusions: In this study, no significant associations were found between dietary fats and CVD risk. Considering the emerging body of literature that suggests no association between fats and CVD risk, reconsideration of dietary recommendations regarding low fat diets to prevent CVD, seems to be essential.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Dietary fat; Mono-unsaturated fatty acids; Poly-unsaturated fatty acids; Saturated fatty acids.