October 15, 2001
Healthy Fats Promote Heart Health, Weight Loss
DUNEDIN, New Zealand--Two randomized crossover trials, which were published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (55:908-915, 2001)(http://content.naturesj.com), suggest that replacing dietary saturated fat with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat may reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. Twenty-nine subjects in Trial I and 42 subjects in Trial II were asked to follow a diet rich in saturated fat with a total fat intake of 30 to 33 percent of dietary energy for 2.5 weeks. During the comparison diet, saturated-fat rich foods were replaced with foods rich in n-6 polyunsaturated fats (Trial I) or monounsaturated fats (Trial II). Researchers at the University ofOtago, found that replacing saturated fat with n-6 polyunsaturated fat lowered subjects' total cholesterol by 19 percent, LDL cholesterol by 22 percent and HDL by 14 percent. In Trial II, subjects experienced a 12-percent reduction in total cholesterol, a 15-percent reduction in LDL and a 4-percent reduction in HDL. Researchers concluded that young adults were very responsive to dietary-induced changes in plasma cholesterol, and that replacing saturated fat with either n-6 polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat is equally effective in reducing the total to high density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio. This study was partially sponsored by Meadow Lea Ltd.In another similar study, conducted by Frank Sacks, M.D., of Harvard School of Public Health and Kathy McManus, M.S., R.D., of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, subjects following a Mediterranean-style diet, including monounsaturated fats from peanut butter, nuts and healthy oils, had more success losing weight and keeping it off for 18 months than subjects following a strict low-fat diet. The study, published in the Oct. 5 issue of International Journal of Obesity (25, 2001)(http://content.naturesj.com), followed 101 men and women, half of whom ate a low-fat diet (20 percent of calories from fat) and half of whom ate a Mediterranean-style diet (35 percent calories from fat, mostly monounsaturated). All subjects were instructed to consume between 1,200 and 1,500 daily calories low in saturated fat and cholesterol. This study was funded by the Peanut Institute, the International Olive Oil Council and the International Tree Nut Council.
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