Two studies tangle coconut oil in our dietary table

Two studies tangle coconut oil in our dietary table

New Delhi (ISJ) - American Heart Association (AHA) has come up with an advisory, saying saturated fats, including Coconut Oil are the main cause of cardio-vascular diseases (CVD). Besides Coconut Oil, other sources of saturated fats to be taken out of the dietary table are butter, pork, beef tallow, palm oil and palm kernel oil.

The latest advisory is in contrast to a study conducted by Indian cardiologists, which said there was no significant difference in the vascular function or in cardiovascular events of CVD patients by using coconut oil. The study, published in Indian Heart Journal, was conducted at the behest of the state-owned Coconut Development Board.

The study at the Kochi-based Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre showed coconut oil, even though rich in saturated fatty acids in comparison to sunflower oil, when used as cooking oil media over a period of 2 years did not change the lipid-related cardiovascular risk factors and events in those receiving standard medical care.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year. Preventive treatment that reduces CVD by even a small percentage can substantially reduce, nationally and globally, the number of people who develop CVD and the costs of caring for them. This AHA presidential advisory on dietary fats and CVD reviewed the scientific evidence, including the most recent studies, on the effects of dietary saturated fat intake and its replacement by other types of fats and carbohydrates on CVD.

"....we conclude strongly that lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of CVD," added the advisory.

In India too, cardiovascular diseases have become the leading cause of mortality. A quarter of all deaths is attributable to CVD. Ischemic heart disease also known as Coronary Artery Disease and stroke are the predominant causes and are responsible for more than 80% of CVD deaths. India's burden of 272 per 1,00,000 population is higher than the global average of 235 per 100 000 population.

Some aspects of the CVD epidemic in India are particular causes of concern, including its accelerated build-up, the early age of disease onset, and the high fatality rate.

Premature mortality in terms of years of life lost because of CVD in India increased by 59%, from 23.2 million (1990) to 37 million (2010). Despite wide heterogeneity in the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors across different regions, CVD has emerged as the leading cause of death in all parts of India, including poorer states and rural areas.

Sources: American Heart Association

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