Intake of individual saturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: two prospective longitudinal cohort studies.
Objectives To investigate the association between long term intake of individual saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and the risk of coronary heart disease, in two large cohort studies. Design Prospective, longitudinal cohort study. Setting Health professionals in the United States. Participants 73 147 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2012) and 42 635 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2010), who were free of major chronic diseases at baseline. Main outcome measure Incidence of coronary heart disease (n=7035) was self-reported, and related deaths were identified by searching National Death Index or through report of next of kin or postal authority. Cases were confirmed by medical records review. Results Mean intake of SFAs accounted for 9.0-11.3% energy intake over time, and was mainly composed of lauric acid (12:0), myristic acid (14:0), palmitic acid (16:0), and stearic acid (18:0; 8.8-10.7% energy). Intake of 12:0, 14:0, 16:0 and 18:0 were highly correlated, with Spearman correlation coefficients between 0.38 and 0.93 (all P trend =0.05) for 12:0, 1.13 (1.05 to 1.22; P trend trend trend trend Conclusions Higher dietary intakes of major SFAs are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Owing to similar associations and high correlations among individual SFAs, dietary recommendations for the prevention of coronary heart disease should continue to focus on replacing total saturated fat with more healthy sources of energy.