Linoleic Acid
Replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid likely reduces your risk of heart disease. This is a pretty big deal since heart disease kills more than any other cause. However, this doesn't mean you should drink oil. The studies only point to benefits with caloric replacement. This means that you really only see the difference if you eat more foods with linoleic acid, while eating less butter.
Professionally Reviewed by Charles Li, MD

Key Points

Linoleic Acid and Heart Disease
1. Linoleic Acid Is better than butter
Replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid likely reduces your risk of heart disease.
2. Heart Disease Matters
This is a pretty big deal since heart disease kills more than any other cause.
3. Calories still matter
However, this doesn't mean you should drink oil. The studies only point to benefits with caloric replacement. This means that you really only see the difference if you eat more foods with linoleic acid, while eating less butter.

What is Linoleic Acid?

A Common Oil
Linoleic Acid is what scientists call a "fatty acid."

It's a long chain of atoms that forms a fat molecule.

Even though you probably can't find it at the supermarket, it makes up a large component of many oils that you cook with including grape seed oil, corn oil, and soybean oil.

It's considered a healthy oil, particularly when compared to butter and margarine.

What is Heart Disease?

Key Facts
Heart disease is the primary disease doctors worry about when it comes to Linoleic Acid and other fats. 

Fats are believed to play a key role in heart attacks and stroke, which together account for more deaths than any other cause of death.

Over time, the blood vessels supplying your heart accumulate fatty plaques. These plaques cause the blood vessels to narrow. A blood clot can then get stuck in these narrowed vessels causing heart attacks and strokes.
how it forms
Heart Disease
how it forms
1. Artery Damage
Over time, your arteries accumulate fatty plaques on their walls
2. Narrowing
This plaque in your blood vessels causing them to narrow.
3. Clot Formation
Blood clots can get stuck in your narrowed blood vessels
4. Heart Attack
These blood clots can cut-off your heart's blood supply causing a heart attack

Over time, your arteries accumulate fatty plaques on their walls. This plaque in your blood vessels causing them to narrow. Blood clots can get stuck in your narrowed blood vessels. These blood clots can cut-off your heart's blood supply causing a heart attack

The Link

Linoleic Acid & Heart Disease
The best research so far suggests that eating lots of Linoleic Acid might actually be pretty good for you.

People who eat the most linoleic acid also have the lowest risk of heart disease. This suggests that eating foods with more linoleic acid may help protect you from heart disease.
Linoleic Acid and Heart Disease

Those who consume a high amount of linoleic acid in their diets have a 21% lower risk of dying from heart disease compared to those who consume the least linoleic acid.

Study Results

Linoleic Acid & Heart Disease
Researchers estimated that replacing just a little bit of saturated fat with linoleic acid could significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.


Linoleic Acid & Heart Disease Study

The study found that eating more linoleic acid lowers the risk of heart disease and lowers your risk of dying from heart disease. Researchers combined data from 13 studies covering 310,602 patients to create this estimate. Both results were highly significant.

Data Source

" In prospective observational studies, dietary LA intake is inversely associated with CHD risk in a dose-response manner. These data provide support for current recommendations to replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat for primary prevention of CHD."

Source: Dietary linoleic acid and risk of coronary heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

The Bottom Line

Linoleic Acid and Heart Disease
So far, the best data that we have shows that linoleic acid is probably pretty good for you. However, keep in mind that the research is constantly shifting.

When it comes to meal planning, try switching from butter to vegetable oils.