Beware of high cholesterol

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Avoid saturated fatty acids if you have high cholesterol

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in Europe. To minimize the risks, experts give some nutritional tips that they gained from evaluating 48 studies.

As little saturated fat as possible In Germany, one in three cholesterol levels are too high. Elevated cholesterol is one of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Patients who experience such an increase through a blood test are usually advised by the doctor not to smoke, lose weight and exercise more. Most people are also advised to change their diet. However, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) in Cologne emphasizes that there is no good scientific basis for many corresponding nutrition tips. Research offers only a basis for the advice to eat as little saturated fatty acids as possible.

48 studies with more than 65,000 participants evaluated Scientists from the international research network Cochrane Collaboration evaluated 48 randomized controlled studies with a total of more than 65,000 participants and examined the effect of fats in the diet on cardiovascular diseases. The researchers concluded that the risk of these diseases could be reduced if one consumed less saturated fatty acids. Animal foods such as meat, and especially the particularly fatty types such as pork, hard cheese, cream and butter, contain a particularly large amount of saturated fatty acids. Vegetable products such as sunflower or olive oil, nuts and avocados as well as fish such as salmon and mackerel, on the other hand, contain many unsaturated fatty acids.

Men can benefit more Overall, the studies would suggest that reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease if you eat less saturated fat. The scientists around Lee Hooper write on the IQWiG portal that it probably doesn't matter whether you eat less fat overall or if possible replace the saturated with unsaturated fatty acids. In total, five out of 1,000 people could be prevented from developing cardiovascular disease by taking measures that resulted in participants consuming less saturated fatty acids. But if you want to benefit from health, you will probably have to change your diet permanently. Men could be more likely to benefit from a corresponding changeover, since they are at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases anyway.

Many factors influence success The scientists do not see it as proven that healthy people benefit from a change in diet just as much as patients who already have heart disease or who are at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as people with High blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. However, the researchers assume that less saturated fatty acids in the diet have a positive effect in all groups. According to the IQWiG, the numbers from the studies are only rough indications, because there are many factors that can influence the success of a diet change. (ad)

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