Vegetable Oils May Not Help You Live Longer

Vegetable oils tied to lower cholesterol but not longer life, lower heart disease risk

(RxWiki News) There's now reason to doubt the heart-health benefits of vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid, according to a new study.

Cutting the saturated fat in your diet and replacing it with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid may lower your cholesterol, but that may not translate to a longer life or lower heart disease risk, this study found.

This National Institutes of Health study, published in The BMJ, looked at 9,423 patients from state mental hospitals and a nursing home. One group of patients replaced saturated fat, which is found in animal products like margarine and meat, with corn oil, a vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid, which is thought to improve heart health. The other group ate a diet high in saturated fat.

The group that replaced saturated fats with vegetable oil did have lower cholesterol but did not appear to live longer. The authors of this study even found that patients who had sharper drops in cholesterol had a higher rather than a lower risk of death.

These researchers took the study a step further by analyzing past studies similar to the current one. The evidence didn't support the idea that lowering cholesterol reduced the risk of death, they found.

More research is needed before any dietary recommendations can be made. In the meantime, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, recommended the author of an editorial about this study.

The National Institutes of Health, University of North Carolina Program on Integrative Medicine and others funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
April 15, 2016
Last Updated:
April 16, 2016