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Diet Fat and Cholesterol Intake Not Related to Ischaemic or Haemorrhagic Stroke, Cerebovascular Health
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Diet Fat, Cholesterol Intake and Strokes

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Dietary Fat, Cholesterol Intake and Strokes

Intake of total or specific types of dietary fat or dietary cholesterol does not appear to be related to the development of stroke, say researchers.

This finding results from a study of a large cohort of men, aged from 40 to 75 years, with no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus.

The cohort consisted of 43,732 male health professionals from the United States who responded to a mailed comprehensive survey of diet, lifestyle characteristics, and medical history in 1986. The participants provided annual updates for non-dietary variables and updated food frequency questionnaires at baseline and in 1990 and 1994.

Research associate Ka He, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues documented 725 stroke cases (455 ischaemic, 125 haemorrhagic, and 145 of unknown type) in the study participants during 14 years of follow up. They then divided the cohort into fifths according to their intake of each type of fat and adjusted for age, smoking, and other potential confounders.

When the researchers compared the group in the highest fifth for intake with the group in the lowest fifth for intake, the multivariate relative risk of ischaemic stroke was 0.91 for total fat, 1.20 for animal fat, and 1.07 for vegetable fat. Likewise, the relative risk was 1.16, 0.91, 0.88, 0.87, and 1.02 for saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, trans unsaturated fat, and dietary cholesterol, respectively.

When the investigators further evaluated the risk of strokes according to the consumption of selected foods, including red meat, high fat dairy products, nuts, and eggs, which are rich in fat or cholesterol they found no significant associations with ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke.

The researchers did not observe any significant association between dietary fat intake and risk of haemorrhagic stroke but they report that further studies are needed to determine if any important association exists between dietary fat intake and haemorrhagic stroke because of the modest number of cases of haemorrhagic stroke in this study.

"Our findings from this large cohort of middle aged US male healthcare professionals without a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus indicate that intakes of total fat, specific types of fat, or dietary cholesterol do not seem to be related to the development of stroke," the authors conclude.

Source: British Medical Journal 327:777-81.

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