Author + information
- Arne Astrup, MD, DMSca,∗ (, )
- Faidon Magkos, PhDa,
- Dennis M. Bier, MDb,
- J. Thomas Brenna, PhDc,
- Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto, PhDd,
- James O. Hill, PhDe,
- Janet C. King, PhDf,
- Andrew Mente, PhDg,
- Jose M. Ordovas, PhDh,
- Jeff S. Volek, PhD, RDi,
- Salim Yusuf, DPhilg and
- Ronald M. Krauss, MDj
- aDepartment of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
- bChildren’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
- cDepartments of Pediatrics, Chemistry, and Nutrition, Dell Pediatric Research Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
- dDepartment of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas
- eDepartment of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
- fDepartment of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California
- gPopulation Health Research Institute, McMaster University & Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
- hDepartment of Nutrition and Genomics, Human Nutrition Research Center of Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts
- iDepartment of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
- jDepartments of Pediatrics and Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California
- ↵∗Address for correspondence: Arne Astrup, MD Department of Nutrition Exercise and Sports; Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen Rolighedsvej 26, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark Tel: +45 35 33 24 76 .
The recommendation to limit dietary saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake has persisted despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Most recent meta-analyses of randomized trials and observational studies found no beneficial effects of reducing SFA intake on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and total mortality, and instead found protective effects against stroke. Although SFAs increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, in most individuals, this is not due to increasing levels of small, dense LDL particles, but rather larger LDL which are much less strongly related to CVD risk. It is also apparent that the health effects of foods cannot be predicted by their content in any nutrient group, without considering the overall macronutrient distribution. Whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, eggs and dark chocolate are SFA-rich foods with a complex matrix that are not associated with increased risk of CVD. The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods.
Funding: The evidence discussed in this manuscript has been presented by the authors during the Expert Workshop “Saturated Fat and Health: A Nutrient or Food Approach?” held in February 2020 in Washington, DC. The workshop was funded by the Nutrition Coalition – a non-profit non-partisan educational organization whose primary goal is ensuring that US nutrition policy is based on rigorous scientific evidence – in part with a generous grant from philanthropists Robert G. and Sue Douthit O'Donnell, of California. The sponsors had no role in preparing or reviewing the manuscript before submission.
Arne Astrup: Research funding from Danish Dairy Foundation, Arla Foods Amba and the European Milk Foundation. Speaker honorarium for Expert Symposium on the Dairy Matrix 2016 sponsored by The European Milk Foundation. Advisory Board/Consultant for McCain Foods Limited and Weight Watchers.
Faidon Magkos: Nothing to disclose.
Dennis M. Bier: Consultant and/or lecture fees and/or reimbursements for travel, hotel and other expenses from the International Life Sciences Institute, the International Council on Amino Acid Science, Nutrition and Growth Solutions, Ajinomoto, the Lorenzini Foundation, the CrossFit Foundation, the International Glutamate Technical Committee, Nestlé S.A., Ferrero SpA, Indiana University, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, the Infant Nutrition Council of America, and the Israel Institute.
J. Thomas Brenna: Research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association/North Dakota Beef Council. Panel participation honorarium from Dairy Management (2017).
Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto: Nothing to disclose.
James O. Hill: Research funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Member of the scientific advisory committee of the Milk Producers Education Program (Milk PEP). Member of the health and wellness advisory board for General Mills. Trustee of the International Life Science Institute.
Janet C. King: Nothing to disclose.
Andrew Mente & Salim Yusuf: Research funding from the Dairy Farmers of Canada and the National Dairy Council to analyze data on dairy consumption and health outcomes in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, which is funded by the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), Hamilton Health Sciences Research Institute, and more than 70 other sources (government and pharmaceutical).
Jose M. Ordovas: Research funding from the USDA on personalized nutrition and from Archer Daniels Midland on probiotics. Scientific Advisory Board/consultant for Nutrigenomix, the Predict Study, GNC and Weight Watchers.
Jeff S. Volek: Research funding from foundations (Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation) and industry (Metagenics, National Dairy Council/Dutch Dairy Organization, Malaysian Palm Board, Pruvit Ventures). Royalties for books on ketogenic diets. Scientific advisory board for Virta Health, UCAN, Advancing Ketogenic Therapies, Cook Keto, Axcess Global and Atkins Nutritionals. Equity in PangeaKeto. Founder, chief science officer, and equity in Virta Health.
Ronald M. Krauss: Research funding from Dairy Management. Scientific Advisory Board for Virta Health and Day Two. Licensed patent for method of lipoprotein particle measurement.
Tweet: The health effects of dietary saturated fatty acids can vary among individuals, and depend on the food source and overall dietary pattern
- Received March 30, 2020.
- Revision received May 7, 2020.
- Accepted May 12, 2020.