Ad libitum intake of low-fat diets rich in either starchy foods or sucrose: effects on blood lipids, factor VII coagulant activity, and fibrinogen

Metabolism. 2000 Jun;49(6):731-5. doi: 10.1053/meta.2000.6237.


People are advised to reduce their intake of saturated fat and replace it by carbohydrate to avoid coronary heart disease. It is unknown whether sucrose and starchy foods, two major sources of carbohydrates, have similar effects on cardiovascular risk markers if incorporated as a replacement for saturated fat into diets eaten ad libitum. We served 20 healthy, normal-weight women aged 21 to 52 years three strictly controlled diets ad libitum: FAT, high in total fat (46% of total energy [E%]) and saturated fat (21 E%); STARCH, high in total carbohydrates (59 E%) and low in sucrose (2.5 E%); and SUCROSE, high in total carbohydrates (59 E%) and sucrose (23.2 E%). The diets were eaten in randomized order for a period of 2 weeks. Blood lipids, factor VII coagulant activity (FVIIc), and fibrinogen concentrations were measured with subjects in the fasted state (9:45 AM) and the postabsorptive state (6:00 PM). STARCH was associated with lower total cholesterol (mean difference, 0.34 mmol/L; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18 to 0.50), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (0.25 mmol/L; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.37), fasting triglycerides (0.15 mmol/L; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.23), nonfasting triglycerides (0.44 mmol/L; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.58), and nonfasting FVIIc (9.8%; 95% CI, 3.8 to 15.8) than SUCROSE. Compared with FAT, STARCH resulted in a desirable decrease of LDL cholesterol and nonfasting FVIIc. STARCH was also associated with a minor weight loss (0.7 kg) that was not found on the other 2 diets. We conclude that starchy foods with a natural content of dietary fiber can be recommended as substitutes for saturated fat in the dietary prevention of coronary heart disease. According to the present short-term findings in healthy females, substitution with sucrose is not advisable.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Coronary Disease / metabolism
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Eating
  • Factor VII / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Risk Factors
  • Starch / metabolism*
  • Sucrose / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Lipids
  • Triglycerides
  • Sucrose
  • Factor VII
  • Fibrinogen
  • Starch
  • Cholesterol