Soy Nutrition Institute
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Feb 02, 2016

Eating too little PUFA causes more CHD deaths than eating too much saturated fat

Health agencies continue to recommend limiting intake of dietary saturated fat to reduce risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) but the relationship between dietary fat intake and CHD risk has become controversial in recent years. Now a new analysis of the impact of fat intake on CHD, which is 86 pages long and signed by 111 authors, suggests that in many countries around the world, the critical issue when it comes to fat intake is not too much saturated fat but too little omega-6 polyunsaturated fat (PUFA). In fact, nonoptimal intake of PUFA actually accounted for three times more CHD deaths than excess saturated fat. Tropical oil-consuming countries were estimated to have the highest proportional PUFA- and SFA-attributable CHD mortality, whereas Egypt, Pakistan, and Canada were estimated to have the highest proportional trans-attributable CHD mortality. For this analysis national intakes of saturated fat, trans fat, and PUFA were estimated based on country-specific dietary surveys; food availability data; and, for trans, industry reports on fats/oils and packaged foods. Etiologic effects of dietary fats on CHD mortality were derived from meta-analyses of prospective cohorts and CHD mortality rates from the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases study.


Soybean oil is comprised of approximately 53% omega-6 PUFA (linoleic acid) and about 6% alpha-linolenic acid, the omega-3 essential fat. This analysis indicates that soybean oil and full-fat soyfoods can help to reduce CHD mortality.


Wang Q, Afshin A, Yakoob MY, et al. Impact of nonoptimal intakes of saturated, polyunsaturated, and trans fat on global burdens of coronary heart disease. J Am Heart Assoc 2016;5