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Some Vegetable Oils May Up Heart Risk

Update Date: Nov 11, 2013 05:41 PM EST

Vegetable oils may actually increase the risk of heart disease, according to a new study. Canadian researchers found that some vegetable oils that claim to be healthy may actually up the risk of heart disease.

While replacing saturated animal fat with polyunsaturated vegetable oil has become very popular as vegetable oil can reduce serum cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease, the latest findings reveal that this may not be the case for all vegetables oils

Researcher in the latest study noted that the Canadian government approved a request from the food industry to apply a heart disease risk reduction claim on vegetable oils and foods containing these oils in 2009. The label suggests that vegetable oils offer "a reduced risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels."

However, researchers said that the label should not apply to all vegetable oils.

"Careful evaluation of recent evidence, however, suggests that allowing a health claim for vegetable oils rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but relatively poor in omega-3 α-linolenic acid may not be warranted," Drs. Richard Bazinet, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto and Michael Chu, Lawson Health Research Institute and Division of Cardiac Surgery, Western University, London, Ontario, wrote in a news release.

For example, corn and safflower oil are rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but contain almost no omega-3 α-linolenic acid. Recent studies have found no beneficial effects on heart health. Researchers said that a study published in February revealed that while these oils significantly decreased serum cholesterol levels, they were linked to significantly higher rates of death from all causes of cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease significantly increased in the treatment group.

"We suggest that the health claim be modified such that foods rich in omega-6 linoleic acid but poor in omega-3 α-linolenic acid be excluded," researchers concluded.

The findings are published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

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