Background: The effect of individual dietary fatty acids on emerging risk factors for cardiovascular disease that are associated with subclinical inflammation is unknown.
Objective: The goal was to evaluate the role of dietary fat and specific fatty acids, especially trans fatty acids, in altering concentrations of markers of inflammation in humans fed controlled diets.
Design: In a randomized crossover design, 50 men consumed controlled diets for 5 wk that provided 15% of energy from protein, 39% of energy from fat, and 46% of energy from carbohydrate. Eight percent of fat or fatty acids was replaced across diets with the following: cholesterol, oleic acid, trans fatty acids (TFAs), stearic acid (STE), TFA+STE (4% of energy each), and 12:0-16:0 saturated fatty acids (LMP).
Results: Fibrinogen concentrations were higher after consumption of the diet enriched in stearic acid than after consumption of the carbohydrate diet. C-reactive protein concentrations were higher after consumption of the TFA diet than after consumption of the carbohydrate diet, but were not significantly different after consumption of the TFA and TFA+STE diets than after consumption of the LMP diet. Interleukin 6 concentrations were lower after consumption of the oleic acid diet than after consumption of the LMP, TFA, and STE diets. E-selectin concentrations were higher after consumption of the TFA diet than after consumption of the carbohydrate diet. Consumption of the TFA but not the TFA+STE diet resulted in higher E-selectin concentrations than did the LMP diet.
Conclusions: These data provide evidence that dietary fatty acids can modulate markers of inflammation. Although stearic acid minimally affects LDL cholesterol, it does appear to increase fibrinogen concentrations.