Using data from the University of Cambridge EPIC-CVD study, they compared 10,529 people who developed heart disease with 16,730 people who did not, looking specifically at dietary habits including age, gender, physical activity levels, whether they smoked or drank alcohol, and whether they were overweight or obesity.
From there, they found that the data didn’t show any specific relationship between saturated fat and overall heart disease risk, but when they scaled up specific eating habits, more patterns emerged. “We found that people who ate more saturated fats from red meat and butter were more likely to develop heart disease,” write Marinka Stoer, PhD, and Neta Frohi, two of the study authors. New release. “The opposite was true for those who ate more saturated fat from cheese, yogurt and fish – which was actually linked to a lower risk of heart disease.”
According to the researchers, these findings are consistent with previous research – they specifically cited a 2017 study that highlighted the link between food groups and the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. In the case of the recent study, the observational nature of the research means that the association between the type of food containing saturated fat and heart disease risk can only be called an association—there is no way to prove any cause, given the other influencing factors.