Saturated fat, serum cholesterol and coronary heart disease

Different results for saturated fat, serum cholesterol and CHD in the Zutphen and the Seven Countries Study.

In 1960 the average saturated fat intake of the middle-aged men in Zutphen was high and amounted to 18% of energy with a relatively small standard deviation of 3% of energy. Dietary saturated fat was not associated with serum cholesterol and 10-year CHD mortality in the Zutphen Study. But in contrast, among populations of the Seven Countries Study showed that the average saturated fat intake, average serum cholesterol level and 10-year CHD mortality rates in the 16 cohorts were strongly correlated.

Why this difference?

Variations in diet score and predicted values of serum cholesterol

The strong correlations of population levels of dietary saturated fat and serum cholesterol with CHD mortality in the Seven Countries Study overall was due to large variations in average saturated fat intake, average serum cholesterol level and CHD mortality rates among the 16 cohorts. In the Zutphen Study saturated fat intake of individuals was not related to either serum cholesterol or CHD mortality. The zero correlations were the consequence of a small range in dietary saturated fat among the Zutphen men along with the large day-to-day variation within these men (see the graphs and Jacobs et al 1979).


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