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Seed oils beat olive oil for heart health
October 22, 2018, 12:42 pm

Dozens of previous studies have revealed that using unsaturated in place of saturated fat in diet reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the body. LDL, the so-called ‘bad cholesterol’, is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 15 million people were killed by cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke in 2016.

Doctors and dietitians often recommend replacing saturated fats such as butter or lard, with mono- or poly-unsaturated fatty acids that are found in plant-based oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil and others, to help fight dyslipidemia, or abnormal blood levels of lipids such as cholesterol.

Now, researchers at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam say the type of unsaturated fats you consume can also makes a difference. In a first-ever analysis that assessed the impact of various oils and fats on blood lipids in a single model, the researchers were able to discern which of the many plant-derived oils have the greatest benefit.

Using a statistical technique called network meta-analysis, which allowed them to glean evidence from enormous amounts of data through the use of ‘direct and indirect comparisons’ the study team were able to compare the effect of many different interventions on a single result.

For instance, the technique allowed the researchers to compare butter with sunflower oil by inferring indirectly from analyzes of two other trials: one that tested butter against olive oil directly, and another that tested sunflower against olive oil directly.

The network meta-analysis allowed the team to search databases going back to 1980 for studies that had compared the effect of different types of dietary fats on blood lipids. Their analysis compared the effect of 13 oils and solid fats: safflower oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, hempseed oil, corn oil, coconut oil, palm oil, soybean oil, butter, beef fat, and lard.

The study found that the ‘best performers’ were safflower oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, and flaxseed oil. In contrast, solid fats like butter and lard were the worst choice for LDL.
However, the researchers were quick to point out that their study had limitations as it focused solely on lipid levels and not on disease outcomes.

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