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Macronutrient replacement options for saturated fat: effects on cardiovascular health

Flock, Michael R.; Fleming, Jennifer A.; Kris-Etherton, Penny M.

doi: 10.1097/MOL.0000000000000039
NUTRITION AND METABOLISM: Edited by Frank M. Sacks and Lawrence J. Appel

Purpose of review The purpose of this review is to discuss macronutrient replacement options for saturated fatty acids (SFAs) to optimize cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction.

Recent findings Dietary recommendations advise decreasing SFAs. There is convincing evidence that replacing SFAs with unsaturated fat, both omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, reduces CVD risk. Monounsaturated fatty acid substitution for SFAs also decreases CVD risk. Replacing SFAs with refined carbohydrate does little to alter CVD risk, whereas whole-grain CHO or lean protein substitutions beneficially affect CVD risk.

Summary Modifying the macronutrient composition of the diet by replacing SFAs with unsaturated fatty acids, as well as lean protein and carbohydrate from whole grains, all lower CVD risk. Research is needed to identify food sources of macronutrients that optimize CVD risk reduction.

Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence to Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Department of Nutritional Sciences, 319 Chandlee Lab, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. Tel: +1 814 863 2923; e-mail:

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