Is replacing butter with high-quality plant oils healthy?

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) Switching from a diet high in saturated animal fats like butter to one with plant-based unsaturated fats like olive oil can affect the fat composition in the blood, which, in turn, can influence long-term disease risk, according to a study on Thursday.
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Is replacing butter with high-quality plant oils healthy?

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) Switching from a diet high in saturated animal fats like butter to one with plant-based unsaturated fats like olive oil can affect the fat composition in the blood, which, in turn, can influence long-term disease risk, according to a study on Thursday.

The current guidelines call for increasing dietary unsaturated fat intake while reducing saturated fats to prevent cardiometabolic diseases, which include heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and insulin resistance.

The new study, published in Nature Medicine, demonstrated that a controlled dietary substitution of saturated fats with unsaturated fats may be good for health and can reduce cardiometabolic risk.

For the study, the team involved 113 participants who were divided into two groups: one consuming a diet high in saturated animal fats, while the other group had a diet rich in unsaturated plant-based fats.

These were followed for 16 weeks, and their blood samples were analysed using lipidomics, or an analysis of fats in the blood.

A higher multi-lipid score (MLS) -- indicating a healthy blood fat profile -- showed a substantially reduced risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases. A healthy fat-rich diet was found to be associated with a 32 per cent fewer incident of cardiovascular disease and 26 per cent fewer type 2 diabetes cases.

The "study confirms with even more certainty the health benefits of a diet high in unsaturated plant fats such as the Mediterranean diet and could help provide targeted dietary advice to those who would benefit most from changing their eating habits", said Clemens Wittenbecher, research leader at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

The study also showed that it is possible to accurately measure diet-related fat changes in the blood and directly link them to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. It also highlighted the potential of lipidomics-based scores for targeting and monitoring dietary interventions in biomarker-guided precision nutrition approaches.

--IANS

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