Diet and Coronary Heart Disease

Walter Willett and Meir Stampfer

in Nutritional Epidemiology

Third edition

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199754038
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979448 | DOI:

Series: Monographs in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Diet and Coronary Heart Disease

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According to the classic “diet-heart” hypothesis, high intake of saturated fats and cholesterol and low intake of polyunsaturated fats increase the level of serum cholesterol, which leads to the development of atheromatous plaques. Accumulation of these plaques narrows the coronary arteries, reduces blood flow to the heart muscle, and finally leads to myocardial infarction. This chapter examines the epidemiologic evidence addressing this hypothesis and considers additional hypotheses relating diet to heart disease. Abundant evidence has shown that specific dietary fatty acids play important roles in coronary heart disease. Nevertheless, the dose-response relationships between specific fatty acids and cholesterol intake and rates of coronary heart disease (CHD) are not clearly defined. Modest reductions in CHD rates by further decreases in saturated fat and cholesterol intake are possible if saturated fat is replaced by unsaturated fat, but little or no benefit is likely if saturated fat is replaced by carbohydrate.

Keywords: fat intake; cholesterol; epidemiologic studies; heart disease; saturated fat; unsaturated fat

Chapter.  26935 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Statistics and Methodology

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