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Healthy Fats and Prevention of Cardiometabolic Diseases


There is extensive evidence showing that the intake of healthy fats can reduce incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School discusses the evidence from several studies showing the benefits of healthy oils and fats for reduction of CVD incidence and CVD risk factors.

Overall recommendations include keeping intake of saturated fatty acids low, replace saturated fat with unsaturated fats, and consume mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats. Good food options to consume are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, seafood, avocado, soy, and algae. There is little evidence to support health claims of coconut oil, but more research is needed.

Finally, Dr. Hu discusses the updated guidelines from the 2015 dietary guidelines. He served on the Scientific Advisory Committee for the past three years, the committee that formed the recommendations for the USDA.

According to the 2015 dietary guidelines, saturated fats should be replaced by PUFAs, 10% upper limit for saturated fats should be maintained, vegetable oils should be used as fats rather than animal fats, but fats should not be replaced by refined or processed carboydrates. When individuals reduce refined carbohydrates in their diets, on the other hand, they should replace them with whole grains, rather than saturated fats.

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