This systematic review of randomised control trials (RCTs) is the first to investigate the role of individual dietary saturated fatty acids (SFAs) replacement on biomarkers of cardiometabolic disease (CMD) risk.
Globally, dietary guidelines are aimed at the reduction of dietary saturated fatty acids in favour of unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs), with a general consensus that dietary SFAs should not exceed approximately 10% total energy intakes. This systematic review assessed the impact of individual saturated fatty acids (SFAs) on the prevention of cardiometabolic disease.
Some local dietary guidelines (e.g., in France) are more specific by advising reduction of the recommended total intakes of individual types of SFAs in order to achieve greater positive impacts on cardiometabolic health.
Some evidence suggests that the sum of dietary lauric, myristic and palmitic acid should not exceed 8% total energy (TE) intake in adults.
This systematic review analyses data from trials which focused on traditional biomarkers of CMD risk such as fasting lipid profiles, markers of inflammation, hemostasis, glycemic control, or metabolic hormones.
The meta-analyses in this work found that the isoenergetic dietary replacement of at least 1.5%TE of palmitic acid with oleic acid or UFA for a duration of at least 14 days had significant beneficial impacts on lipid CMD risk markers in adults.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses like the currently proposed one assess the available data with the aim of helping ground public health recommendations in scientific evidence. However, the current quantitative findings need to be interpreted with caution due to the presence of high statistical heterogeneity and low number of RCTs. Further RCTs designed to investigate different SFAs such as lauric and myristic acids and their impact on other clinical biomarkers of CMD risk are warranted.
A more complete picture of the impact of dietary saturated fatty acids on metabolic health status would greatly contribute to the improvement of public health guidelines for the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases.