Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids like those found in coconut were found to be beneficial or neutral
CHICAGO, Jan. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A new paper titled “Saturated Fatty Acid Chain Length and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review” published in the journal Nutrients makes a case for the need to consider the saturated fat chain length when evaluating the impact on heart health. The review evaluated five prospective cohort studies that measured saturated fatty acid chain length via diet analysis. The authors found that there was an association with increased risk of cardiovascular disease with long-chain saturated fatty acid (LCFA) intake, but a beneficial or neutral impact for both short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA).
The researchers concluded that “…grouping all saturated fats into one category and therefore one recommendation is remiss, as they clearly have different health impacts based on their varying fatty acid chain lengths.” Sue Hewlings, Ph.D., R.D. of Nutrasource and co-author of the paper commented, “Current dietary guidelines group all saturated fats together, however the conversation needs to change to evaluate different chain lengths of saturated fats and their different health effects. This is an overdue discussion about a topic that has major implications for public health recommendations. Just as different chain lengths of polyunsaturated fats, i.e., omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids have different impacts on health, different saturated fats do as well, making it very clear that not all food sources of saturated fat are the same.”
The review suggested that “It may be best to change the emphasis from nutrient- or macronutrient-specific recommendations to whole-food- or diet-pattern-specific recommendations.”
“It’s important to remember foods are not just one thing,” added Hewlings. “For example, coconut contains saturated fat, but it’s a medium chain fatty acid and contains other many beneficial nutrients and therefore should not be lumped with all saturated fats.”
The full paper may be access at https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/15/1/30.
Media Contact: Traci Kantowski, Coconut Coalition of the Americas
SOURCE Coconut Coalition of the Americas