Saturated fat intake linked to fewer fatal strokes

by Jeff Gelski
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TSUKUBA, JAPAN — Saturated fatty acid intake inversely was associated with mortality from total stroke, according to a Japanese cohort study appearing on-line Aug. 4 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Average saturated fatty acid intake is low among the Japanese, according to the study.

The Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk comprised 58,453 Japanese men and women who completed a food-frequency questionnaire. They ranged in age from 40-79 at baseline (1988-90). They were followed for 14.1 years.

Researchers observed inverse associations of saturated fatty acid intake with mortality from stroke for the highest compared with lowest quintiles. No multivariable-adjusted associations were observed between saturated fatty acid and mortality from subarachnoid hemorrhage and heart disease.

Grants from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan supported the study. It involved Japanese researchers from the University of Tsukuba, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, the University of Hyogo, the Aichi Medical University School of Medicine, the Hyogo Prefectural Institute of Public Health and Environmental Sciences, and Jissen Womenrsquos University. Researchers from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis also were involved.

“The traditional diet-heart hypothesis, that increased dietary intake of saturated fat leads to an increase in risk of coronary heart disease, has been seriously called into question recently by several large human studies,” said Gerald McNeil, vice-president of R.&D. for Loders Croklaan North America, Channahon, Ill. “The latest observational study on the subject was published by Japanese researchers ... The researchers found no association between saturated fat intake and risk of heart disease.”

Loders Croklaan supplies palm oil, which is about 50% saturated fat. Dr. McNeil and the company have argued that saturated fat intake has little effect on heart disease because saturated fat contains both a high level of L.D.L. or “bad” cholesterol and a high level of H.D.L. or “good” cholesterol.

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