Comparison of effects of dietary saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipids and lipoproteins in man.

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      Twenty patients consumed a liquid diet in which the predominant fatty acids were either saturated (Sat), monounsaturated (Mono), or polyunsaturated (Poly). The fats in these three diets comprised 40% of total calories and consisted of palm oil, high-oleic safflower oil, and high-linoleic safflower oil, respectively. During the third and fourth week of each dietary period, multiple samples of blood were taken and were analyzed for plasma total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), and cholesterol in lipoprotein fractions (VLDL-C, LDL-C, and HDL-C). Twelve of the patients had normal TG levels; in these patients, both Mono and Poly diets caused statistically significant and equal lowerings of plasma LDL-C, but the Poly diet lowered HDL-C levels more frequently than did the Mono diet. Neither diet changed the level of plasma TG. The proportions of total protein and the various lipid components in isolated fractions (VLDL, IDL, LDL, HDL) were not altered by the two diets. Eight patients had hypertriglyceridemia; these individuals showed considerable variability in response to Mono and Poly diets. Although there was a trend towards reductions in TC and LDL-C levels by both types of unsaturated fats, the changes were inconsistent; furthermore, HDL-C concentrations were low on the Sat diet and were unaffected by either the Mono or the Poly diet. The results of this study show that oleic acid is as effective as linoleic acid in lowering LDL-C levels in normo-triglyceridemic patients, and oleic acid seemingly reduces HDL-C levels less frequently than does linoleic acid. Neither type of unsaturated fat had striking effects on lipoprotein levels of hypertriglyceridemic patients.

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