Public health guidelines should recommend reducing saturated fat consumption as much as possible: YES

Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ronald M. Krauss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Based on decades of research, there is strong evidence that supports ongoing dietary recommendations to decrease intakes of SFAs and, more recently, to replace SFAs with unsaturated fat, including PUFAs and MUFAs. Epidemiologic research has shown that replacement of SFAs with unsaturated fat, but not refined carbohydrate and added sugars, is associated with a reduction in coronary heart disease events and death. There is much evidence from controlled clinical studies demonstrating that SFAs increase LDL cholesterol, a major causal factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. When each (nonprotein) dietary macronutrient isocalorically replaces SFA, the greatest LDL-cholesterol-lowering effect is seen with PUFA, followed by MUFA, and then total carbohydrate. New research on full-fat dairy products high in saturated fat, particularly fermented dairy foods, demonstrates some benefits for cardiometabolic diseases. However, compared with food sources of unsaturated fats, full-fat dairy products increase LDL cholesterol. Thus, current dietary recommendations to decrease SFA and replace it with unsaturated fat should continue to the basis for healthy food-based dietary patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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