Saturated Fats and Health: Facts and Feelings
Hot Topic Symposium
Tuesday, May 5
9:15 am-12:15 pm
Organizers: M. Paques, FrieslandCampina, the Netherlands; S.J.W.H. Oude Elferink, FrieslandCampina, the Netherlands; Y. Verbeek-Schilder, FrieslandCampina Research, the Netherlands; P. Huth, PJH Nutritional Sciences, USA; and K. Dewettinck, University of Ghent, Belgium.
Session Chairs: K. Duhem, Scientific Director of CNIEL, France; and R. Feinman, Department of Biochemistry, State University of New York, Health Center at Brooklyn, USA.
Saturated fat from plants and animals has for centuries been an important ingredient in many Western and non-Western diets. In recent years, however, saturated fats have gained a bad image, especially in relation to cardiovascular health. However, the “saturated fat is bad” dogma is not based on unequivocal evidence. Indeed, some long-chain saturated fatty acids have been shown to raise LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in specific dietary intervention studies, and LDL cholesterol is a risk marker for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, it is clear now that the predictive power of the LDL cholesterol level for CVD risk is limited, although its predictive power can be enhanced by including LDL particle size, LDL (glyc)oxidation state, triglyceride levels, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, inflammatory markers, and the like. And some of these markers are improved by the consumption of saturated fat.
Recent studies show that saturated-fat consumption is a dietary habit that has only a limited impact on CVD risk reduction compared to consumption of seafood, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and consumption of zero industrial trans fat. In addition, restricting saturated fat intake by replacing it with carbohydrates appears to have a negative impact on lipid profiles.
Furthermore, research shows that addressing saturated fatty acids as one group often is too simplistic. In the human body, each saturated fatty acid has its own specific functions depending on its chain length. Finally, it is important to realize that we are not eating individual fatty acids, but complex foods. Does scientific knowledge, for example, warrant a limit on full-cream dairy products because of their saturated-fat content?
Does Current Scientific Data Warrant Aggressive Lowering of Saturated Fat in our Diets?
B. German, University of California at Davis, Department of Food Science and Technology, USA.
The recent history of public recommendations for dietary intakes of macronutrients have targeted total fat, cholesterol, and saturated-fat intake as the principal means to improve human health. Such recommendations have been translated into a long-term agricultural objective of eliminating these components from human foods. Agricultural change requires changes at many points over many years to eliminate these components from human foods.
Once accomplished, such changes would be equally difficult to reverse. The relation between dietary intake of fats and health is intricate. Is it possible that evolution found benefits in saturated fatty acids that current recommendations do not consider?
German Presentation (4.9MB pdf)
Is Saturated Fat Consumption a Major Dietary Risk Factor for CHD—What is the Evidence?
D. Mozaffarian, Harvard University, School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, USA.
Review of RCTs and observational studies of saturated fat consumption and lipid risk factors and risk of clinical CHD events. Evaluation of whether effects on CHD risk depend on the particular replacement nutrient, e.g., PUFA, MUFA, trans, or carbohydrate. Review of evidence for potential differences depending on polulation groups (e.g. men, women, elderly).
Mozaffarian Presentation (225KB pdf)
High-Carbohydrate Versus High-Saturated-Fat Diets and Health: "You are not what you eat, but what your body does with it.”
J. Volek, University of Connecticut, Neag School of Education, USA.
High-carbohydrate diets are the culprit of many Western health problems, not the saturated fat.
Volek Presentation (4.2MB pdf)
The Impact of Dairy on Health.
P. Elwood, Cardiff University, Department of Epidemiology, UK.
Review of epidemiological and intervention studies with regard to the health effects of dairy, including studies with low-fat and full-cream products.
Elwood Presentation (928KB pdf)
The Impact of Dairy on Health (86k pdf)
The Role of Saturated Fatty Acids in our Body is Strongly Linked to their Chain Length. Each Saturated Fatty Acid has its Own Merits.
P. Legrand, Agrocampus-INRA , France.
Short discussion of each saturated fatty acid and its role, with specific emphasis on myristic acid, and its relation to elongation of omega-3 fatty acids.
Legrand Presentation (336KB pdf)
AOCS Related ProductsAOCS has the following products related to this hot topic. Stop by the AOCS Press Bookstore while you are at the 100th AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo to receive special Annual Meeting Only discounts or order the product online at the AOCS Store.
Fish, Omega 3 and Human Health, 2nd Edition, William E. M. Lands, 2005, Product Code #204
Fatty Acids in Health Promotion and Disease Causation, Ronald R. Watson, 2009, Product Code #237
Focus on Obesity, 2009, Product Code #CD-245
Focus on trans Fats, 2004, Product Code # CD-03NCS
Focus on Omega-3, 2008, Product Code #CD-229