A new study on stroke risk and fat in the diet suggests that it’s not the amount of fat a person consumes that is the primary factor, but what is more important is the type of fat – the source it comes from.
Anyone who pays close attention to diet information has heard the term “good fat versus bad fat.” Some insist we need fat in our diets and that some sources provide so-called “healthy fats.”
A new study examined the role that fat consumption plays in prompting strokes. The results were presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2021 but have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, NBC reported. The findings suggest an increased risk of stroke from consumption of fat in the diet is linked to the source of fat, rather than the quantity.
The study involved analyzing 27 years of data taken from two of the largest and longest-running nutritional studies in the United States, which was gleaned from 117,000 healthcare professionals.
The study results probably won’t surprise you when you learn what bad sources of fat were. Nonetheless, it will provide confirmation. More importantly, the study suggests it is more important that we focus not on limiting all fat intake but limiting or avoiding consuming fat from specific sources.
Animal fat was linked to a higher risk of stroke, mainly red and processed meats. Those who ate the highest amount of animal fat (including fat from bread and processed meat but excluding dairy fat) were 16 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who ate the least amount of animal fat. However, eating less animal fat had a positive impact on reducing the risk of all types of stroke.
Fat from vegetable sources had a lower risk of inducing stroke. People who consumed more vegetable and polyunsaturated fats were 12 percent less likely to have an ischemic stroke as compared to those who ate the least of such vegetable fats.
Fat from dairy was not associated with the risk of stroke the study found.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and there are over 200,000 cases yearly.
The technical name for a stroke is Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA). There are three types of strokes: (1) Ischemic Stroke, (2) Hemorrhagic Stroke, and (3) Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), which is sometimes referred to as a mini-stroke or warning stroke, and account for about 87% of all strokes, according to the CDC. TIAs are considered a warning sign of a future stroke and are as much of a medical emergency as a major stroke.