Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats and high-quality carbohydrates has the most impact on reducing the risk of heart disease, according to the study.

When saturated fats were replaced with highly processed foods, there was no benefit, the study found."We found that when study participants consumed less saturated fats, they were replacing them with low-quality carbohydrates such as refined grains that are not beneficial to preventing heart disease," said study author professor Frank B Hu from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

"Our findings suggest that when patients are making lifestyle changes to their diets, cardiologists should encourage the consumption of unsaturated fats like vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds, as well as healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains," Hu said.

For this study, researchers followed 84,628 women and 42,908 men who were free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer and documented 7,667 incidents of coronary heart disease.

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

 

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