In the study, the researchers accounted for many things that could influence the findings, including age, education, exercise, smoking, drinking, medication use and health conditions. This is done to ensure that the findings are not due to better health behaviors among certain women.
"We think it is unlikely that these findings regarding dietary fat would be primarily explained by a healthy lifestyle in those with more education," Okereke said.
Although this study was among women, "it would make sense that the basic underlying reasons for the findings we saw in women should also apply to men," she added.
Samantha Heller, a dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., commented that "it appears that the effects of eating a lot of saturated fat and the foods associated with it, such as red and processed meats, cheese and butter, over time creates a cascade effect of ill health."
This study supports others that have found an association between saturated fats, the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and an increased decline in brain function, she said.
"Saturated fat has been associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, cancer and diabetes, and may increase fat storage in your abdomen -- commonly referred to as 'ab flab,'" Heller said.
"Ab flab in and of itself increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and Alzheimer's disease," she said.
The evidence is stacking up against consuming saturated fat regularly, Heller said.
"To lower your intake of saturated fat, choose low or nonfat dairy foods such as fat-free milk and yogurt. Stick with skinless poultry and fish. Limit red and processed meats such as beef, pork, lamb, hot dogs or bologna, to a few times a month. Experiment with meatles
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