According to a research, performed by the scientists of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and published on 16 March 2018 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Zong G et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2018), it is possible to find an answer to the long debated question whether monounsaturated fats are able to lower the heart disease risk. The answer is yes, they are able to do this but the fats should come from plant based foods, such as nuts and olive oil.
Until this study the researches showed mixed results because, according to the author of this study Qui Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University, the monounsaturated fats came both from plant based and animal foods, especially red and processed meats. The problem with this type of meat is that saturated fats are also contained and these fats are harmful and counteract the action of monounsaturated fats. On the contrary, this latest study has focused the attention on the different action of the monounsaturated fats from plant based and animal foods. In particular, the habits of about 100 000 persons, men and women, have been analyzed. This sample has been divided into two groups, the first group substituted saturated and trans fats and refined carbohydrates with an equal number of calories from monounsaturated fats of plant source, the other group took monounsaturated fats of animal source. In the group that introduced plant based monounsaturated fats the heart disease risk was much lower than the other group. These findings show the importance of a largely plant based diet, as stated by Qui Sun.