Saturated fat intake alone was not found directly related to coronary risk, which was contrary to most other studies and caused some consternation in the scientific community. When dietary fats and cholesterol were analyzed independently of other factors such as age, weight, smoking habits, blood pressure, and alcohol intake, they were found to be directly related to coronary risk for one part of the group but not for another part – again raising scientific eyebrows.
The authors of this study were among leading experts recommending prudent decreases in the amount of saturated fats and cholesterol in the diet. Changes already made since 1965 by a significant portion of thepopulation may have accounted for a lowering of the coronary death rate for Americans by about 3 percent per year. But another scientific group concluded that no necessary relationship could be established between the lowering of the coronary death rate and dietary changes because of concurrent improvements in medical care. Dietary changes cannot be recommended to the entire population, but combined with changes in lifestyle such as quitting smoking and increasing exercise, they are considered desirable to those at risk because of overweight, family history of heart disease, or a tendency toward high levels of serum cholesterol.