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July 28, 1989

What to Do About Dietary Saturated Fats?

JAMA. 1989;262(4):453. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430040017005

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MANY cholesterol-lowering recommendations suggest reducing dietary saturated fats and replacing them with unsaturated fats. But there is mounting concern that wholesale replacement of saturated with unsaturated fats may be too much of a good thing. So, is it time to revise current dietary recommendations to strike a balance among these fats? Not yet—at least as far as American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines are concerned—concluded participants in a Washington, DC, AHA meeting.

The conclusion is strictly interim. "This is going to be evaluated over and over again," predicts the meeting's chair, Robert J. Nicolosi, MD, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Lowell (Mass). However, while warning against losing sight of the main message—lower the amount of saturated fats in the diet—he adds that a new issue is: What is the replacement for saturated fats?

By some estimates, 15% of the calories in the US diet come from saturated fat. The