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Authors

  1. Myers, Esther F. PhD, RDN, FAND

Abstract

Controversial systematic reviews such as "Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk" by Chowdhury et al cause confusion for the public and health professionals alike. However, a closer look at the question being addressed as well as the methodology lends insights into why the these results may differ from other systematic reviews on fatty acids and heart disease. Evaluating research to independently connect individual fatty acids (either dietary or lipid levels) directly to coronary heart outcomes instead of connecting meal patterns with varying macronutrient content to cardiovascular risk factors such as circulating lipid levels will give quite different answers. Significant challenges common to nutrition systematic reviews are identified that cause us to question the systematic review conclusions. However, at the same time, it does raise questions about our assumptions that reducing cardiovascular risk factors will always lead to changes in coronary heart disease outcomes.