Background: Little evidence of the effects of moderate-fat (from monounsaturated fat) weight-loss diets on risk factors for cardiovascular disease exists because low-fat diets are typically recommended. Previous studies in weight-stable persons showed that a moderate-fat diet results in a more favorable lipid and lipoprotein profile (ie, lower serum triacylglycerol and higher HDL cholesterol) than does a low-fat diet.
Objective: We evaluated the effects of energy-controlled, low-fat and moderate-fat diets on changes in lipids and lipoproteins during weight loss and subsequent weight maintenance.
Design: We conducted a parallel-arm study design in overweight and obese [body mass index (in kg/m(2)): 29.8 +/- 2.4] healthy men and women (n = 53) assigned to consume a low-fat (18% of energy) or moderate-fat (33% of energy) diet for 6 wk to achieve weight loss, which was followed by 4 wk of weight maintenance. All foods were provided and body weight was monitored to ensure equal weight loss between groups.
Results: The moderate-fat diet elicited favorable changes in the lipoprotein profile. Compared with baseline, HDL cholesterol was unchanged, whereas triacylglycerol and the ratios of total and non-HDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol were lower at the end of the weight-maintenance period in the moderate-fat diet group. Despite similar weight loss, triacylglycerol rebounded, HDL cholesterol decreased, and the ratios of total and non-HDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol did not change during the 10-wk interval in the low-fat diet group.
Conclusions: A moderate-fat weight-loss and weight-maintenance diet improves the cardiovascular disease risk profile on the basis of favorable changes in lipids and lipoproteins. There is merit in recommending a moderate-fat weight-loss diet.