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Can Vegetable Oil Really Save Us From Death Caused By Heart Disease?

Update Date: Apr 13, 2016 05:05 AM EDT

For years, dietitians and health officials thought that vegetable oils are good for the heart since they contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that help lower the cholesterol level. However, a new study stated that replacing saturated fat with vegetable oil lowers does not actually reduce the risk for heart disease. While it requires more research to confirm, additional questions are being raised regarding this belief, CBS News reported.

The question whether vegetable oils can reduce cholesterol was brought to a research by a team from the University of North Carolina and National Institutes of Health. They said that there were no study has done to show that coronary heart disease or death can be reduced if saturated fat is replaced by linoleic acid.

The researchers studied the data from a large unanalyzed study of cholesterol and diet from the 1960s and 70s. The Minnesota Coronary Experiment was done to 9,423 participants from the state nursing homes and mental hospitals.

The study that took four and a half years compared a control group who are consuming foods with high saturated fat with another group whose eating food that uses linoleic-rich corn oil instead.

The study showed that the vegetable oil diet lowered the cholesterol levels. However, it did not improve the rates of heart disease or overall survival. They were also surprised by the fact those participants who experienced a huge blood cholesterol reduction had a higher risk of death.

They have also examined an unpublished data from the same trial, which is the Sydney Diet Heart Study that says more people died from coronary heart disease after switching from saturated fat to safflower oil.

The results from other similar randomized controlled trials did not show them any proof that vegetable oil reduces the rate of death from coronary heart disease or other causes, even if it lowers the cholesterol levels.

"What's important here is for us to understand what we know and what we don't know, and the conventional wisdom, the evidence that saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet are the main drivers of heart disease is not supported by the study," says cardiologist Dr. Steve Nissen, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, NBC News reported.

The worldwide guidelines are still the same and designed after Mediterranean-style eating, which means whole grains, fish, a variety of fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet may contain saturated fat but in limited amounts.

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