Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses| Volume 30, ISSUE 2, P179-189, February 10, 2020

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Dietary saturated fat intake and risk of stroke: Systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

Published:October 01, 2019DOI:


      • Higher dietary saturated fat intake is associated with a decreased overall risk of stroke.
      • There is a linear dose–response relation between dietary saturated fat intake and the risk of stroke.
      • It is necessary to re-evaluate the restrictions on saturated fat intake for future dietary guidelines.


      Background and aims

      Because of the conflicting research results, the association between saturated fatty acid (SFA) consumption and the risk of stroke remains controversial. We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate potential dose–response relation between SFA intake and stroke.

      Methods and results

      PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Web of Science were searched. Summary relative risks (RRs) of the highest vs. the lowest category of SFA intake and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were pooled by random-effects models. Linear or nonlinear dose–response trend estimations were evaluated with data from categories of SFA consumption in each study. Fourteen studies involving a total of 598,435 participants were eligible for high vs. low meta-analysis, and 12 studies involving a total of 462,268 participants were eligible for the dose–response relation assessment. Higher dietary SFA intake was associated with a decreased overall risk for stroke (RR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.78–0.96; I2 = 37.8%). A linear relation between SFA and stroke was explored (P = 0.01), the pooled RR of stroke per 10 g/day increase in SFA intake was 0.94 (95% CI, 0.89–0.98; P = 0.01).


      This meta-analysis further demonstrated that a higher consumption of dietary SFA is associated with a lower risk of stroke, and every 10 g/day increase in SFA intake is associated with a 6% relative risk reduction in the rate of stroke. Further research is needed to explore the influence of specific SFA types and different macronutrient replacement models of SFA on the stroke risk.


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