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A higher consumption of unsaturated fats is linked with lower mortality, according to a recent study.

Consuming higher amounts of unsaturated fats is associated with lower mortality, according to a study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In a large study population followed for more than three decades, researchers found that higher consumption of saturated and trans fats was linked with higher mortality compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrates. Most importantly, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats conferred substantial health benefits.

The study is the most detailed and powerful examination to date on how the type – not quantity – of dietary fats impact health. Trans fats - on their way to being largely phased out of food - had the most significant adverse impact on health. Everytwo percent higher intake of trans fat was associated with a 16 percent higher chance of premature death during the study period. Higher consumption of saturated fats was also linked with greater mortality risk. When compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrate, every five percent increase in saturated fat intake was associated with an eight percent higher risk of overall mortality.

Conversely, intake of high amounts of unsaturated fats - both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated - was associated with between 11 and 19 percent lower overall mortality compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrates. Among the polyunsaturated fats, both omega-6, found in most plant oils, and omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and soy and canola oils, were associated with lower risk of premature death.