Study links fat type to stroke risk

A new study suggests the type of fat a person eats rather than the amount may be a more important factor in determining stroke risk.

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The study, reported by NBC News, found eating more animal fat led to a higher risk of stroke. A lower risk of stroke was linked to vegetable sources. The study was done analyzing 27 years of data from more than 100,000 health care professionals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States.

The study found those who ate the most fats from vegetable sources (like olive oil) were 12% less likely to have ischemic strokes, when compared to those who ate the least. Participants who ate the most animal fat (like processed meat) were 16% more likely to have strokes than those who ate the least. Fat from dairy was not associated with risk either way.

Researchers recommend people reduce eating red and processed meat, trim fat from meat, and cook with non-tropical vegetable oils where possible.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2021, and was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists warn that there were limitations to the study, including the fact that dietary intake was self-reported by participants.