Consuming Animal Fat Increases Stroke Risk While Vegetable Fat May Decrease It

Different types of food from the food pyramid seen from above.According to new preliminary research, consuming higher total amounts of animal fats could increase the risk of stroke, while consuming more vegetable fats may lower the risk. Researchers believe this new information could help with the prevention of cardiovascular disease, including stroke.

The study analyzed 27 years of follow-up from a total of 117,136 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, two of the most extensive studies to examine the risk factors for various chronic diseases.


All participants had an average age of 50 years, 63% were women, 97% were white, and all were free of heart disease and cancer at the time of enrollment. Every four years during the study, participants completed food frequency questionnaires that were used to calculate the source, amount, and types of fat in their diets.

Researchers were able to calculate the cumulative average of the dietary data overtime to find their long-term dietary intake.

During the time of the study, 6,189 participants suffered a stroke, including 2,967 ischemic strokes and 814 hemorrhagic strokes. Overall, researchers found that participants who consumed the most vegetable fat were 12% less likely to experience a stroke compared to those who ate the least. Those with the highest amount of non-dairy animal fat in their diet were 16% more likely to experience a stroke than those who ate the least.

Suggested Diet Changes

Lead author of the study Fenglei Wang said, “Based on our findings, we recommend for the general public to reduce consumption of red and processed meat, minimize fatty parts of unprocessed meat if consumed, and replace lard or tallow with non-tropical vegetable oils such as olive oil, corn or soybean oils in cooking in order to lower their stroke risk.”

Researchers would like to further their studies by looking at subtypes of fat intake, such as separating saturated fat consumed from dairy or non-dairy animal sources and vegetables. They believe this may be useful in further understanding the association between fat intake and stroke risk.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.